After newly promoted I-League side Sudeva Delhi FC pulled out of the upcoming 2020 IFA Shield, their I-League rivals Real Kashmir FC have replaced them in the competition.
Sudeva Delhi FC co-owner Vijay Hakari explained to Indiatvnews.com, “We have informed in writing to IFA that we can’t participate as there is no bio-secure bubble for the tournament. We were really eager to participate in a historic tournament like IFA Shield but not at the risk of safety of our players.”
“Sudeva house not just an I-League team but various senior and junior division players as well. Even one getting infected means we are putting everyone at risk,” Vijay Hakari added.
But IFA secretary Joydeep Mukherjee had a different view on the matter and said, “After we released the draw for matches, Sudeva requested us for food and lodging arrangements. This took us by surprise because we clearly mentioned in our invitation that there won’t be any bio-secure bubble in place for the tournament. So such request at the last-minute was unacceptable. After Sudeva decided not to come, we confirmed the participation of Real Kashmir, who were on standby.”
“As far as the safety of players is concerned, we are providing Rs 3 lakh insurance to every player participating so that they play with a free mind. Not to forget, every player and staff will be tested two days before the beginning of the tournament and on every fifth day of the tournament as well,” Joydeep Mukherjee added.
Meanwhile Real Kashmir FC were elated to participate, “I think this is a proud moment for us as a team and for all football lovers in the valley. Real Kashmir FC will become the first team from Jammu and Kashmir to participate in such a prestigious event. This is something players are excited about and are looking forward to. We will give 100 percent in the event to make football fans especially Real Kashmir FC fans proud.”