Indian Football News: Minerva Punjab lose AFC Cup stadium permission; Owner says club shutting down
Minerva Punjab's owner Ranjit Bajaj, in a startling revelation on Twitter, said that permissions for his club to use Bhubaneswar's Kalinga Stadium for their AFC Cup home fixtures has been revoked, this morning.
He said that as a consequence, and with a heavy heart, he was left with no choice but to shut the club down.
Bajaj alleged that it was on the behest of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Football Sports Development Ltd. (FSDL), that the Odisha Sports Authority has revoked the permission, which was granted for Minerva to use the stadium for their three home fixtures, the first of which is scheduled for the 1st of May, against Nepalese club Manang Marshyangdi.
It is learnt that Odisha authorities revoked the permission, because the Kalinga Stadium is set to undergo renovation upon the completion of the ongoing Super Cup.
Bajaj says he reached out to the Odisha Sports Department, but was told to speak to FSDL and AIFF, and lashed out at federation.
He said he was shattered that his own parent body was sabotaging the club's chances of playing in the AFC Cup, despite Minerva earning the right to play in the competition, as a result of being I-League champions in the 2017-18 season.
Bajaj, in a series of tweets, lashed out at FSDL saying this was the latest 'low blow' in a series of attempts to kill off all football in the country that they don't own or control.
He tweeted that the AIFF's duty must be to protect football in this country, but they are instead killing other clubs.
" (sic) AIFF & FSDL RELIANCE Congratulations on a job well done - from everyone @minervapunjabfc & all clubs who have shut down because of you," he tweeted, after announcing that Minerva would shut down.
At one point last year, Minerva held all the championships in Indian Football, from the I-League to the junior levels, where there were crowned U-18, U-15 and U-13 National Champions.
Sportskeeda reached out to Bajaj for a further statement on the development, but we were told that he would respond to us in the evening.
Any further statements from Minerva Punjab or Ranjit Bajaj will be added to this story, as and when they are made.