I-League clubs refuse to release players for Caribbean, UK trip

August 9th, 2011 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Pune, Aug 9 (IANS) In a dramatic u-turn, I-League clubs Tuesday refused to release their players for the national team’s Caribbean and England tour a day after the All India Football Federation (AIFF) directed them to do so.

AIFF president Praful Patel during an emergency meeting here Monday tried his best to persuade the five I-league clubs - Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Dempo, Salgaocar and Pune FC - to release their players.

While I-League champions Salgaocar have no problem in releasing Karanjit Singh and Rocus Lamare for the national camp, the other fours leading clubs declined.

The clubs reasoned that since tour matches in the Caribbean and England do not list under any of the two prescribed dates of FIFA official matches, they are not bound to release players for the national camp. India will play against Pakistan Sep 26 in England and friendly matches in Caribbean are slated for August 17, 21 and 24.

Pune FC said that it would not release goalkeeper Subrata Paul and striker Jeje Lalpekhlua, for India’s tour to the West Indies and England.

“We are not going to release Subrata and Jeje. Both the tours will have no bearing on India’s points (in the ranking system) and seriously hampers the club’s pre-season preparations. We had already conveyed our decision to the AIFF in writing earlier and the decision taken by the Emergency Committee on Monday does not change the stand we took earlier,” said Chirag Tanna, Pune FC’s Head, Operations.

Tanna was critical of the workload that both his players have had already.

“Jeje has been playing non-stop for the past 18 months and needs rest more than anything else at this hour, while goalkeeper Paul needs to recover from a niggle that he has been carrying for some time now,” he said.

Dempo manager Custodio Almeida said all the 10 players of the Goan club in the national team have returned. India coach Armando Colaco also happens to be Dempo secretary cum coach.

“All our players have returned home. Since other clubs are not releasing players, why should we allow our players to play in insignificant matches,” said Almeida.

Mohun Bagan official Debashish Dutta said the club will not release Syed Rahim Nabi and Sunil Chettri. “We have asked both players to join the club,” he said.

Article 1 - Point 2 of the FIFA Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players states - “The release of players under the terms of paragraph 1 of this article is mandatory for matches on dates listed in the coordinated international match calendar and for all matches for which a duty to release players exists on the basis of a special decision by the FIFA Executive Committee.”

Article 1 - Point 3 of the FIFA Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players states - “It is not compulsory to release players for matches scheduled on dates not listed in the coordinated international match calendar.”

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