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Indian Football News: Minerva Punjab allowed to use Kalinga Stadium for one match; looking for alternate venues for further AFC Cup matches

SENIOR ANALYST
News
839   //    11 Apr 2019, 16:26 IST

Former I-League champions Minerva Punjab have got a new lifeline after AFC allowed them to host their AFC Cup home matches in alternative venues
Former I-League champions Minerva Punjab have got a new lifeline after AFC allowed them to host their AFC Cup home matches in alternative venues

What's the Story?

In what has come as a major breather for all the Minerva Punjab and Indian football fans, the club has decided not to close down its operations and are looking forward to hosting the AFC Cup matches in an alternative venue.

In case you don't know...

Minerva Punjab owner Ranjit Bajaj threatened to shut down his club after it accused AIFF of sabotaging them by ordering the Sports Department of Odisha to back out from letting them host the home matches of AFC Cup.

The AIFF not only denied these accusations but also wrote a letter to AFC requesting Minerva Punjab to allow them to change their venue. The highest governing body of football in Asia gave a thumbs up, thus permitting Minerva Punjab to change their venue.

The heart of the matter

The Government of Odisha has agreed to rent Minerva Punjab their Kalinga Stadium for their first AFC Cup home match against Nepal's Manang Marshyangdi on May 1 after agreeing to postpone their renovation work for the stadium. However, they refused to lease them the stadium for their other two home matches against Chennaiyin FC on 19 June and Bangladesh's Dhaka Abahani on 26 June.

Minerva Punjab owner Ranjit Bajaj told Sportskeeda that he has reached out to various authorities to let them host their other two AFC Cup home matches and is waiting for their reply. He also thanked the AIFF for their timely intervention. If it weren't for them, the Asian Football Confederation would have imposed a heavy fine on them and Minerva Punjab would have no options other than to close down their operations.

What's next?

Minerva Punjab will next be in action on 17th April against Bangladesh's Dhaka Abahani at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in the AFC Cup.

The 2017-18 Bangladesh Premier League champions have foreigners who have played previously in India like Wellington Priori, Kervens Belfort, and Masih Sahgani in their ranks, and are currently top of Group E of the continental competition, after just one match.

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