Delhi govt ditched us at last moment, alleges Football Delhi days ahead of hosting Santosh Trophy matches

Only two days are left for the Group-1 clashes of the 27th Senior Men’s National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy in the national capital but Football Delhi officials are still awaiting the financial support, which was promised to them by the Delhi Government.

As per Football Delhi officials, the Delhi government had initially assured them of full cooperation for the tournament but now in a shocking U-turn, they have refused to co-operate at the last moment, citing “technical reasons.”

“We were asked by the AIFF (All Indian Football Federation) to speak to the Delhi government for the hosting of the Santosh Trophy. We then met the Delhi government officials and they promised full cooperation for the tournament. Initially everything was going fine and commitment was made but now they (govt) refused to support us on technical grounds. What are the technical reasons? That we don’t know. Nobody explained to us further,” Delhi Soccer Association (Football Delhi) President Sharafatullah told IANS.

“We then discussed our problem with AIFF and now they have said that they will support us in hosting the tournament. Thank God, we got this much time also to plan and now we are geared up for the tournament and the games will go as planned,” he added.

Asked whom they met in the Delhi government, the Football Delhi president refused to reveal the name.

Group-1 matches of the championship will be played from December 23 at Dr Ambedkar Stadium and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Apart from host Delhi, a total of six teams including Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Tripura and Ladakh will compete in Group-1 matches.

All the matches of host Delhi will be held at the Dr Ambedkar Stadium. Delhi will play its first match against Tripura on December 23.

This time some changes have been made to make the Santosh Trophy attractive, due to which the teams from 36 states have been divided into six groups. The winners and runners-up of each group will qualify for the final round, while Railways, Services and the host team will play directly in the final round.

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