Kolkata, Oct 20:
One of India’s oldest soccer clubs Mohammedan Sporting has decided to skip the I-League second division and the Durand cup this year for its inability to meet the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) club licensing criteria and financial difficulties.
However, club president Sultan Ahmed made it clear Monday that the club was not being wound up as suggested in some quarters.
“All these speculations that the club was being shut down are baseless. The club working committee decided Saturday not to take part in major tournaments like I-League second division and Durand Cup this time. We have been unable to meet the AIFF club licensing criteria.
“We are facing financial difficulties. We will work on our infrastructure improvement plan. From 2015-16 we will again take part in second division I-League.”
The club will also turn out in Calcutta Football League Premier Division, the IFA Shield and invitational meets next season.
The 123-year-old club has been unable to pay salary to its players, support staff and other employees for the past three months.
Sporting alongside three other clubs – Churchill Brothers, United SC and Rangdajied United – was earlier in the year barred from top-flight I-League football by the AIFF for failing to meet the AFC’s club licensing conditions.
They lost an appeal in June, but could have played in the second division I-League had they met the criteria.
The authorities found the clubs lacking various criteria in categories pertaining to Sporting, Personnel & Administrative, Financial, Legal and Infrastructure as underlined by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Sans sponsors, Mohammedan Sporting has been running into losses of over one crore rupees.
But an official said the club could reverse its decision of not playing the Durand Cup if they got financial support from sponsors.