The financial impact of coronavirus pandemic on Indian sport is beginning to take shape with I-League clubs preparing to minimise their losses by activating the ‘Force Majeure’ clause in player contracts.Also Read - Sandesh Jhingan Named AIFF Men's Footballer of Year, Suresh Wins Emerging Player Award
The clubs have already issues termination notices to few players, particularly overseas, whose contracts are valid till May 2020 when the season was scheduled to end before being put on hold last month due to coronavirus. Also Read - Indian Football Team Coach Igor Stimac's Contract Extended Till September Next Year
Other players will get paid till their last competitive match meaning they won’t get any salary for April or May unless the season resumes. Also Read - It's Better to Play in I-League Than ISL , Says Former East Bengal Head Coach Mario Rivera
As per a clause in players contracts, “failure by a party to fulfill any of its obligations under the agreement shall not be considered to be a breach of, or a default under, the agreement in so far as the inability arises from an event of Force Majeure.”
Times of India quoted an unnamed club owner as saying that they are left with no choice. “We are forced to take this step. The players will not like this, they will protest, but we are left with no choice,” the owner was quoted as saying.
Gokulam Kerala FC owner VC Praveen claimed some clubs are not even paying salaries for March despite having played matches last month. “I know of some clubs who are not even paying March salaries, but we will not do that. We played games in March, so will respect our commitment. The players know that they cannot demand for salaries beyond that, if the AIFF decides to cancel the league,” Praveen said.
With Mohun Bagan already declared winners of I-League 2019-20, the All India Football Federation is expected to make a call whether the season will resume.