The I-League clubs Monday said they will approach 'appropriate courts for relief' if the ISL is made the country's top league, even as the All India Football Federation called it 'premature and unfair'.
Miffed at AIFF general secretary Kushal Das's public acknowledgement of Indian Super League as the country's main league, representatives of Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Churchill Brothers, Minerva Punjab FC and Gokulam Kerala FC, among others, held a meeting in the capital, where they decided to move courts.
The clubs feel Das' acknowledgement will be rubber-stamped in the AIFF's executive committee meeting on July 3.
"With media reports indicating that the ISL being announced as the top division league post an Executive committee meeting scheduled for July 3rd, the I-League clubs are standing united stronger than ever," the clubs said in a joint statement.
"The refusal of the President of AIFF to meet the I-League clubs in spite of several requests and the subsequent vindictive actions specifically towards the I-League clubs, combined with the coercive and blackmailing attitude of FSDL towards AIFF by refusing to make payments pushes the game to an uncertain future."
The apex body promptly responded with a statement of its own while urging the aggrieved clubs to come back to the drawing board.
"The AIFF feels that it is very premature and unnecessary to pre-judge any action of the AIFF, and be commenting on the AIFF Executive Committee meeting on July 3, 2019 in advance.
"The AIFF as a custodian of Indian Football has always endeavoured to balance to the interest of all stakeholders, and the Hero I-League, and its clubs. To say that the future of Hero I-League, and the clubs will not be taken into consideration for any future decisions of the AIFF would be unfair," the federation said in its statement.
The AIFF said they have invited a top AFC official to India for discussing concerns regarding the I-League.
"As a matter of fact, a decision regarding the Hero Indian Super League becoming a league were also discussed with AFC, and FIFA before it was given recognition, and even for any future decisions AFC and FIFA will be duly consulted. In fact, during the last AFC AGM in Paris, the AIFF asked the AFC General Secretary Dato Windsor John to visit India specifically for Hero I-League issues.
"Furthermore, while the decision of the AIFF Executive Committee cannot be per-judged, it must also be borne in mind that AIFF has already spoken to its commercial partners FSDL about the concerns of the Hero I-League clubs."
The federation also expressed surprise at the I-League clubs' claim that the AIFF president Praful Patel had gone back on his promise to meet the clubs after the Super Cup withdrawal earlier this year.
"It is surprising that the clubs have accused the AIFF President about not giving them any audience for their grievances.
"In fact, the only time they sought an audience was before the commencement of Hero Super Cup, where they were duly informed that the AIFF President will meet them any day between April 10-14, 2019, as the President had prior commitments for the FIFA Council Election on April 6 in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the Lok Sabha general elections," the AIFF said.
"Despite the assurance, the clubs did not meet the President, and rather pre-maturely pulled out of the Hero Super Cup, causing huge financial losses and negativity for a tournament for they had confirmed their participation. It must be mentioned that post pulling out of the Hero Super Cup no appointment has been sought by the clubs till date."
The federation also warned some of the clubs to refrain from making "unnecessary accusations".
"Needless to say some club owners have taken to a vicious and malicious social media campaign against the AIFF and its president. We would like to caution the clubs to refrain from unnecessary accusations, and advice them to engage meaningfully for the betterment of Indian football," the apex body concluded its statement.
Recently, some aggrieved I-League clubs hit out at the AIFF disciplinary committee's decision to impose a hefty fine of Rs 27.5 lakh fine on them for boycotting the Super Cup citing unfair "step-motherly" treatment by the federation.
The clubs backed out at the last moment, much to the chagrin of AIFF and FSDL (Football Sports Development Limited), subsidiary of the federation's commercial partner, IMG-Reliance.
National level shooter claims she was forced to leave Karni Singh Range by officials
A national level shooter claimed that she was thrown out of the Dr Karni Singh Shooting range during the 19th Kumar Surendra Singh Memorial Shooting Competition "without giving any valid reason".
A shooter from Haryana, Poonam Yadhuvanshi claimed that she was forced to leave the premises by the administrator of the sports facility "without citing any valid reason" while she was watching the competition at the 10m range.
"I was sitting at the 10m range when a guard called me and said the range supervisor was calling me. But the supervisor was not there and the guard told me that it was an order from the higher authority that I should be asked to leave the range," Yadhuvanshi claimed in a video statement.
"I was not given any reason when I enquired with them. I told them that I am a national level shooter. I have already played three nationals and I am also an NCC cadet."
She claimed that such sort of incident had happened with her in the past as well.
"I visited the range after 10 days because the trials were going on. I came to see the competition. About 10 days back another incident happened when I was sitting at the 50m range with my personal coach when a coach of the range misbehaved with me and asked me to leave the range," Yadhuvanshi said.
"They are trying to harass me mentally. I had to call the PCR to pick up my scooty which was inside the range. I lodged my complaint with the PCR and then only they allowed me to pick up my scooty," she added.
The administrator of the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range is Manjushree Dayanand.
Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo to host 2026 Winter Games
Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo are promising an Italian Olympics packed with style and elan after winning the right to stage the 2026 Winter Games.
Milan earned 47 votes from the International Olympic Committee membership, compared to Stockholm’s 34, prompting loud celebrations from the bid team, that had earlier included Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
“Italy, the future and sport have won,” Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said back in Italy.
“Thanks to those who believed in it right away, especially in the Municipalities and Regions, and a pity for those who gave up.”
“There will be at least five billion (euros) in added value, 20,000 jobs, as well as many new roads and sports facilities. With the Winter Olympics we will confirm our excellence and our skills to the world.”
Milan and Stockholm were the only candidates left after four other cities — Swiss city Sion, Japan’s Sapporo, Austria’s Graz and 1988 hosts Calgary in Canada — had dropped out of the race with concerns over the size and cost of the event.
Italy last hosted the winter Olympics in 2006 in Turin while Cortina hosted the winter Games back in 1956.
“Congratulations to Milan-Cortina. We can look forward to outstanding and sustainable Olympic Winter Games in a traditional winter sports country,” IOC President Thomas Bach said after announcing the winner.
“The passion and knowledge of Italian fans, together with experienced venue operators, will create the perfect atmosphere for the best athletes in the world.”
Sweden, a winter sports powerhouse who hosted the summer Olympics back in 1912, have now bid eight times unsuccessfully for the winter Games.
The Italian bid had gained an advantage over their opponents after a recent evaluation report by the IOC showed much stronger local support for the Olympics at over 80 percent among the population, compared to just over 50 percent for the Stockholm-Are candidacy.