I-League: Champs Minerva have ‘no money’ to pay domestic players

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Kolkata, March 13 (IANS) Not everything is hunky-dory for surprise I-League champions Minerva Punjab FC as their players are yet to get their salaries and, according to sources, there is little possibility their dues would be cleared anytime soon.

Minerva defied all odds to bag the coveted I-League crown earlier in the month as the title race went down the wire.

The Punjab side relegated Churchill Brothers by beating them 1-0 in the final round of fixtures to win the league.

But a source close to the team management revealed that many of the younger Indian players are yet to get their salaries and this has been the case for months.

“(Owner) Ranjit Bajaj’s wife is supposed to clear their dues but she is leaving for Maldives on vacation without clearing her table,” the source told IANS on condition on anonymity.

The foreign players, though, have recieved their remuneration, the source added.

Bajaj was not available for a reaction despite repeated attempts to contact him.

Minerva’s financial plight has also been highlighted in their refusal to take part in the upcoming Super Cup.

The club, which finished the league with 35 points from 18 outings, wrote to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) saying they run on a shoestring budget and cannot participate in the knockout competition between the I-League and Indian Super League (ISL) teams as it does not mention providing any financial aid to the club for the 21-day-long meet.

The Super Cup qualifiers will start from March 31 and the final round will go on till April 20. Minerva are scheduled to play their first match against ISL debutants Jamshedpur FC at the Kalinga stadium on April 2.



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