"Minerva Punjab ready to play Super Cup if dues are cleared by AIFF," says owner Ranjit Bajaj
After initially threatening to pull out of the Super Cup, Minerva Punjab owner Ranjit Bajaj made a u-turn to state that he is more than willing to field his club in the inaugural edition of the Super Cup, which is set to get underway on March 31.
Minerva Punjab, who won the I-League for the first time in the history of their club, have qualified for the main draw of the competition by virtue of their league standing, and are set to play Jamshedpur FC in the Round of 16 fixture.
Earlier, Bajaj had told Sportskeeda that he would pull his side out of the Super Cup, as he was finding it difficult to cope up with the finances of participating in an additional tournament, where they might end up playing just one match (the Super Cup is in the knockout format).
However, speaking to Sportskeeda, Bajaj revealed that the Chandigarh-based side is yet to receive a substantial amount of money from the AIFF, something that is hindering their preparation for the upcoming cup competition.
"We are having a lot of problems financially. Other clubs may be ok with not paying their players for two-three months, but I just cannot do this," said Bajaj.
"They (AIFF) are asking us to take part in the Super Cup, but all we want is for them to pay us our dues. They’ve promised us that they will release the money that is owed to us," he said. "Now, if they release that money, then I have no problem in sending my team to the Super Cup. Otherwise. I’ll have to take loans again, which I don't want to do."
Bajaj also revealed that the AIFF has promised to release the funds in the next couple of days, something that will aid the I-League champions participate in the Super Cup.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das had, on Tuesday, said that the every ISL and I-League had said that have been allotted Rs 70 lakh for participation in the ISL and the I-League. However, the clubs are yet to receive the whole amount, claims Bajaj.
"The I-League prize money is yet to arrive, and we haven’t yet got our money for the junior level competitions either," said Bajaj.
"We’re not asking for special grants. We just want the amount that is owed to us, so that we can plan the future tournaments accordingly," he continued.
"As champions of India, I want my players to get the best facilities when they play in any tournament. And I can only do all that if they give me the money," he signed off.