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Defending champions FC Pune City pull out of IFA Shield over uncertainty of dates 

FC Pune City are the defending Champions.
FC Pune City
are
the defending Champions.

What's the story?

FC Pune City have pulled out of the 122nd IFA Shield U-19 tournament which was scheduled to kick-start on Thursday, 5th July, Sportskeeda can confirm.

In case you didn't know...

FC Pune City were grouped in with East Bengal, ATK and Mohammedan SC in Group A of the Main Event of the IFA Shield when the fixtures were made public. Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers, Tata Football Academy were grouped in Group B with Qualifiers Winners Bengal Football Academy.

IFA Shields one of the oldest cup competitions in India. IFA Shield along with Durand Cup and Rovers Cup was part of the famous Indian Football Triple Crown. East Bengal are the most successful team of the competition with 28 titles.

Heart of the matter

In an exclusive conversation to Sportskeeda, Gaurav Modwel, CEO of FC Pune City revealed on the eve of the IFA Shield that they are yet to receive an official notification from the Indian Football Association (IFA) regarding the fixtures and the participation of the teams.

The FC Pune City players and staffs are away on an annual holiday resulting in them being replaced by SAIL Burnpur Football Academy U-19 side in the IFA Shield 2018.

In the wake of such confusion in the air, the IFA has released the revised fixtures as follows:

GROUP STAGE

5th July : Mohammedan SC vs ATK, Barasat Stadium

6th July : East Bengal vs SAIL Burnpur, East Bengal Ground

6th July : Mohun Bagan vs Churchill Brothers, Mohun Bagan Ground

7th July : Tata Football Academy vs Bengal Football Academy, Barasat Stadium

8th July : East Bengal vs ATK, East Bengal Ground

8th July : Mohammedan SC vs SAIL Burnpur, Barasat Stadium

9th July : Mohun Bagan vs Bengal Football Academy, Barasat Stadium

10th July : Churchill Brothers vs Tata Football Academy, Barasat Stadium

11th July : East Bengal vs Mohammedan SC, Barasat Stadium

11th July : SAIL Burnpur vs ATK, East Bengal Ground

12h July : Mohun Bagan vs Tata Football Academy, Howrah Stadium

12th July : Churchill Brothers vs Bengal Football Academy, Barasat Stadium

SEMI-FINALS

15th July : Group A Winners vs Group B Runners Up

16th July : Group B Winners vs Group A Runners Up

FINAL : 19th July

All the games have been preponed to a 2:45 PM kick-off from 3 PM.

What's next?

Mohammedan SC hosts ATK in the IFA Shield opener in Barasat Stadium in a classic I-League 2nd Division vs Indian Super League Kolkata Derby.

With the defending Champions pulling out of the event, the quality of the entire tournament is sure to drop. Can the invited teams repeat Pune's feat of last year and surprise the traditional giants of Kolkata Football? Can ATK win some silverware amidst East Bengal and Mohun Bagan's presence to write their own legacy in Kolkata? Comment down your opinions.

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Edited by Kishan Prasad
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