Kerala Blasters FC have announced their decision to "temporarily" shut down their women’s team citing the financial sanctions imposed by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
Fans have been enraged by the announcement in which the women's team have seemingly fallen victim in a crossfire, initiated by the men’s team head coach Ivan Vukomanovic's decision to walk off the pitch mid-way through an ISL playoff tie.
After Kerala Blasters forfeited the match against Bengaluru FC to protest against an alleged faulty refereeing decision, the federation imposed a ₹4 crore fine on the Blasters and a ₹5 lakh fine on Vukomanovic. Additionally, the Serbian tactician was handed a 10-match ban ahead of the Hero Super Cup.
"It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the temporary pause of our women's team. This decision has been necessitated by the recent financial sanctions imposed on our club by the football federation," Kerala Blasters said in a statement on Tuesday.
The Indian football faithful took to Twitter immediately after the announcement to express their discontent and rage regarding the club's decision.
Here are some of the reactions:
The situation of women's football in India is already daunting, and to have a club with a massive fanbase and the potential to make women's football a household commodity shut shop is a concern. Hence, the frustration among fans is justified at this juncture.
"When will women's football be fully respected?" - Swedish footballer Hedvig Lindahl reacts to Kerala Blasters disbanding their women's team
Not just the fans but even players responded to Tuesday's news of the temporary closing of the Blasters' women's division that was launched in July last year.
Indian national team shot-stopper Aditi Chauhan was vocal on social media and questioned the Yellow Army's decision.
The skipper of the national team, Ashalata Devi, responded to the tweet by saying "Horrible".
Meanwhile, veteran Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl cited Kerala Blasters' announcement as an example of general disrespect for women's football across the globe.