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Super Cup 2018: I-League champions Minerva FC threaten to pull out citing financial crunch, heat in Bhubaneswar

Less than a week after Minerva Punjab FC capped a fairytale season by winning their maiden I-League title, the Chandigarh-based side have announced that they may not participate in the upcoming Hero Super Cup, according to a report on India Today’s website.

Minerva Punjab FC won their first ever I-league title on 8 March 2018. Image courtesy: Twitter @Minerva_AFC

Minerva Punjab FC won their first ever I-league title on 8 March 2018. Image courtesy: Twitter @Minerva_AFC

In a letter addressed to the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the newly-crowned champions have threatened to pull out of Super Cup citing financial constraints and the hot conditions in Bhubaneswar, which will host the tournament.

The prestigious cup tournament will pit the top six teams of the Indian Super League with six sides from the I-League besides four other clubs, which will be decided after a qualifying round.
Minerva made it clear that the club won't be able to take part in the competition unless the federation pay heed to their demands.

The club slammed the AIFF in the letter, a copy of which is with Mail Today, for not providing any financial assistance to the club for the Super Cup.

"As you know we are running on a shoestring budget and with a few sponsors we have barely been able to make it through the I-League season. We have to stick to our club's strict budget and financial model in order to survive. We have come to the conclusion that we cannot afford to participate in the upcoming Super Cup as according to the regulations there is no subsidy or financial aid for the clubs. Clubs are supposed to bear complete expenditure for travel, stay and salaries for extra two months,” the club said in the letter.

The club also pointed out that while organisers had highlighted the financial penalties that would be levied, there was no mention of the prize money.

"There is no mention of the prize money of the tournament even though fines and financial penalties have been written out in great detail. Even with very frugal spending the funds required for this tournament comes out to be around Rs 50-55 lakh. We request you to grant us some financial aid so that we can participate, otherwise we may be forced to withdraw," the club added.
The tournament is scheduled from 31 March to 20 April, with Minerva pitted against Indian Super League team Jamshedpur FC. The Round-of-16 fixture is to be played on 2 April at the Kalinga Stadium.

Besides the cash constraints, the club raised the concern of playing in the extremely hot conditions in Bhubaneshwar.

“I think it's inhumane to ask our players to play in 40-43 degrees Celsius heat at Kalinga. It is a knockout tournament and the team is bound to give its all in every match, so it becomes unruly to play there,” a senior official from the club was quoted by India Today.

Updated Date: Mar 13, 2018 13:01 PM

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