Chennai City Football Club too has finally joined the chorus to stand for and defend I-League’s status as India’s premier football league.
I-League champions Chennai City FC had refrained from other joining other clubs in the battle against All-India Football Federations unwarranted treatment to the league and its stakeholders. The Chennai City FC had abstained from the I-League clubs meeting, attended by the other seven team owners, in New Delhi on Monday. The club had also not been the part of the Super Cup 2019 boycott, where seven other I-League clubs had clubs – Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Churchill Brothers, Minerva Punjab FC, Aizawl FC, NEROCA and Gokulam Kerala FC – come together to oppose the abject apathy of the All-India Football Federation towards the I-League.
However, the I-League champion club with the ticket to represent India in the AFC Cup next season has finally written a strongly worded letter to the AIFF, asking for an invitation to the I-League clubs to attend the AIFF Executive Meeting scheduled for July 3.
The letter, addressed to the AIFF general secretary Kushal Das, has also been shared on the Chennai City FC official twitter handle with the caption “Our take on the tiki-taka being played with the Indian Football. An official letter was handed to the AIFF. #PlayAndLetPlay #AaduAadaVidu #CCFC #NammaThamizhagam ?”
— Chennai City FC? (@ChennaiCityFC) June 25, 2019
Earlier, the seven I-League clubs following the meeting in New Delhi had issued a joint communique after Kushal Das’ reported statement that “I-League will no longer be the top league in the country. The clubs had also warned of taking the legal course against AIFF’s bid to grant ISL the status of India’s premier football league.
AIFF had dismissed the I-League clubs’ threat as “premature”. The federation had also warned the I-League clubs to refrain from publicly maligning the federation.
Now, Chennai City FC for the first time has come out against the AIFF in open by sharing its letter to the football governing body in social media.
“We wish to gently remind the national federation, that as the current I-League champions, we have been neither consulted not approached formally by the AIFF into a discussion with regard to the decision which we are informed will be announced post the AIFF Executive Committee meeting on July 3rd 2019,” Chennai City FC said in their statement.
In their statement, Chennai City FC mentioned the controversial Masters Rights Agreement (MRA) agreement between AIFF and IMG-Reliance, according to which ISL is to be made the top league of the country.
Chennai also reminded AIFF that they are yet to receive the prize money for winning the I-League. “We humbly remind you sir that as on this day, we are yet to receive the Prize Money from the AIFF for winning the 2018-19 I-League season and that any decision with regard to dissolve the I-League does not absolve the National Federation’s obligation from paying our Club the deserving Prize Money,” the statement read.
They asked AIFF for a special invitation to the above mentioned Executive Committee meeting for all I-League clubs or at least themselves as the “Champions of the I-League”.
“At this point on behalf of all I-League clubs we also humbly would like to inform you sir that we have never played the I-League in the expectation of earning profits from wining the I-League. The Travel Subsidy and Prize Money together are a definite cushion to our burdening expenses, however, not the penultimate deciding factor. For out brother Clubs such as Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have proudly survived for a century and more, in conditions and times for less favourable than ours and we too believe with your support and sound judgement all I-League clubs will be able to do so as well in the present.
“We are aware of the difficulties and the legal entanglements you find yourself in, which is why we implore the National Federation to offer to meet the I-League clubs to discuss the roadmap and way forward with the consultation of your Commercial Rights Holders.
“Hence, we request you to grant us special invitation to the scheduled Executive Committee meeting on July 3rd, 2019 either collectively (all I-League club owners present) or individually, as the current Champions of the I-League,” the letter states.