2/22/2019 6:33:29 PM (GMT+3)

Minerva Punjab drags AIFF to court on security issue

Minerva Punjab drags AIFF to court on security issue

NEW DELHI: The fight between Minerva Punjab and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on the former’s refusal to play Real Kashmir in I-League match in Srinagar on Monday was dragged to the court after the former filed a petition at the Delhi High Court.

The defending I-League champions’ request to postpone their I-League match against Real Kashmir has fallen deaf ears with the AIFF as the petition is expected to come up for hearing on Friday.

“We’ve no problem playing the team once the situation calms down and order is restored. We are also ready to play the match in a neutral venue of AIFF's choice,” the club tweeted on Tuesday.

The club’s lawyers insisted that the team's “well-founded" fears have been ignored”.

Minerva did not show up in Srinagar on Monday after asserting that the home club and the AIFF failed in providing written security assurances in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack.

"If the AIFF wants to settle the case at the court on the day of hearing, we are fine. But if the court directs us to first go to the I-League committee and see if it is possible to sort out the matter there, we will do so," club’s lawyer Amitabh Tiwari told PTI, India’s news agency.

Tiwari also added that club has no problem if the court directs it to first go to the I-League committee to sort out the issue.

In its petition, Minerva has accused the AIFF of acting arbitrarily and said the football body’s rejection of its request to postpone the match was against the principles of equity and violates I-League regulations 2018-19 and FIFA Safety Guidelines.

“I have to answer to the parents of all my team members and I can’t take responsibility for their lives as I don’t think it’s safe to travel there,” tweeted Minerva Punjab owner Ranjit Bajaj.

The Punjab club also said the AIFF has ignored their e-mails where they have categorically stated that the international players on their roster have been advised by their respective countries not to travel to Jammu and Kashmir.

“AIFF says they conducted Santosh trophy matches in curfew in Jammu. Do they want credit for holding matches where authorities have decided it’s too dangerous for normal life to go on and have imposed curfew?,” questioned Bajaj.