The Delhi High Court on Friday is likely to hear a plea by the Minerva Punjab FC challenging All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) league committee decided not to postpone the I-League match against Real Kashmir FC in the wake of the Pulwama attack, team lawyers said on Tuesday. Also Read - ISL 2020 Match Report: NorthEast United Hold Kerala Blasters to 2-2 Draw After Late Strike From Idrissa Sylla
In the plea filed by Minerva Punjab FC’s counsels Abhimanyu Tewari and Amitabh Tewari, the team said that it requested the AIFF league committee to postpone their match with Real Kashmir FC which was scheduled to take place in Srinagar on Monday. Also Read - 'Childhood Hero' Diego Maradona Inspired me to Take up Football: Bhaichung Bhutia
Minerva’s fears were well founded and a request to postpone the match would not affect any party in the light of the extremely volatile situation in the Kashmir Valley, the advocates said. Also Read - FIFA Cancels Next Year's U-17 Women's World Cup in India, Allots it 2022 Edition
In the plea, Minerva had also asked to shift the venue but it was rejected.
The decision of AIFF not to postpone the match is akin to forcing the players and spectators to play Russian roulette with their lives, the advocates said.
“The rejection is completely against all principles of equity and are violative of the Hero I-League regulations 2018-19 and the FIFA safety guidelines,” the plea said.
“The decision of the AIFF not to postpone the match is inequitable and has been taken without taking the situation into account and without accounting for the safety of the players and the spectators.”
The advocates said that Minerva has international players, who have been advised by their respective countries not to travel to Jammu and Kashmir.
“The AIFF is acting arbitrarily and without reason as earlier in the month the match between Real Kashmir FC and East Bengal was postponed on account of snow whereas the present situation is much more serious and lives of the players and the spectators are at risk,” the advocates said.
Moreover, Minerva is at a loss by not playing the match.
“Minerva is languishing at the bottom of the table and an adverse decision would lead to relegation from the 1st division therefore the decision to not play the match on the February 18 is completely bonafide in light of the security situation.
“A decision of awarding three points to Real Kashmir FC is beneficial for them as the same would propel them to the title with better goal difference therefore their insistence to play the match,” the plea added.