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Robin Singh stuck in limbo as Bengaluru FC and Delhi Dynamos dispute his contract

The striker's injury has meant that Bengaluru FC do not want to pay a loan fee of 35 lakh rupees to Delhi Dynamos

Robin Singh India Nepal FIFA WC Qualifier
The Indian forward faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines, compounded by not being registered to Bengaluru FC

Indian National Team striker Robin Singh is stuck in no-man’s-land as Bengaluru FC have not registered the player ahead of their I-League season, as Delhi Dynamos have yet to release him from his contract. The striker, who suffered an ACL tear while on duty with India at the SAFF Cup, also faces uncertainty over which club will undertake his medical expenses.

Bengaluru FC reportedly had an understanding with the Indian Super League that Robin Singh, Sunil Chhetri and Thoi Singh would return to the club for loan amounts that were pre-determined (35 lakhs, 70 lakhs and 20 lakhs respectively), and that a tripartite agreement would be executed on their date of joining, December 21.

While Mumbai City FC and Chennaiyin FC have released Sunil Chhetri and Thoi Singh without any complications, Delhi Dynamos have yet to release Robin Singh, thus placing the player’s contractual situation in jeopardy.

While speaking to Goal, Mandar Tamhane, Chief Technical Officer of Bengaluru FC, laid the blame over Singh’s contractual uncertainty at the door of Delhi Dynamos, saying, “We have sent them countless mails on the subject but they didn’t respond. We even marked the ISL officials in our communication but Delhi Dynamos chose not to reply.”

Dynamos President, Prashant Agarwal, however, countered with their own version of events, disputing the presence of the ‘understanding’, saying “If Bengaluru FC claims that there was an understanding, we have asked them to show us the written contract which they do not have. We have not been asked to release Robin by any authorities as we follow FIFA rules.”

“There has been an interest in Robin, especially from Australia and the player and we were keen to explore that opportunity.”

Injury is a debilitating factor

The striker suffered an injury while playing for India in the recently concluded SAFF Cup, and fears about him facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines seem to have come true – with rumours that he may miss the entire I-League season a possibility.

The dispute may have arisen as Bengaluru FC now want to sign Robin Singh on a pro-rata basis, which means that they will pay the player only when he is fit enough to play. Tamhane voiced his reasoning, saying, “Now that the player is injured, we still are very much interested in Robin but the question is why should we agree on the fee of Rs.35 lakhs? If he would have got injured when training with us, we would have surely taken care of him on moral grounds.”

In a pre-season press conference for Bengaluru FC, manager Ashley Westwood clarified Robin Singh’s injury situation, saying, “Robin Singh has probably suffered an ACL tear, but we are not sure about the extent of the damage. It can be either a full tear or a partial tear.”

“If everything goes well, his recovery could take place in a month, or he could be out for as long as 6-9 months.”

Given that Robin Singh suffered the injury while playing for India, the All India Football Federation might be required to bear the striker’s medical expenses, or at least offer compensation to his contracted club. The confusion is that the AIFF wrote to Bengaluru FC to release him for the SAFF Cup when he was still contracted to Delhi Dynamos.

The President of Delhi Dynamos, Prashant Agarwal, however, is in no doubt about the situation, saying “Robin is very much a Delhi Dynamos player and we shall take care of him until he gets fit.”

With the I-League season set to start on January 9th, Bengaluru FC will be hoping to have the issue resolved sooner than later.

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