Cash-strapped Mohd Sporting on the brink

Cash-strapped Mohd Sporting on the brink

At a time when the Indian Super League has added a touch of glamour to football in the country, Mohammedan Sporting, one of the nation’s oldest clubs, is facing an existential crisis.

Due to severe financial crisis, the 123-year-old club has decided not to take part in the I-League (second division) and Durand Cup in the upcoming season. Officials, however, dismissed rumours that the club is shutting shop. “We are not closing the club down. But yes, we will not play in the I-League and in the Durand Cup in the upcoming season as the club is not able to meet the licensing criteria of the All India Football Federation. We will make the club ready and develop the infrastructure and take part in the (second division) I-league from 2015-16 onwards,” said club president Sultan Ahmed.

Senior committee member Ishtiaq Ahmed Raju said: “We don’t have any sponsors. Our members have been paying from their pockets for the last few years.

“This season, we will not play any more tournaments because we don’t have any money,” he said.

In May, the AIFF had removed the club, winners of the Durand Cup and the IFA Shield in 2013, from the I-League after failing to meet the licensing criteria set by the Asian Football Confederation.

The club will be sending an under-19 side for this season’s IFA Shield tournament, Raju added.

Raju said the club’s working committee took the decision to limit its operations due to the financial situation. “Club players and the coaching staff have not received their salaries for the last three months. This has caused significant displeasure among the playing and coaching staff,” he said.

In the present scenario, the committee felt it was no longer feasible to field the team for tournaments outside Kolkata, and the officials who attended the meeting informed that foreign players under the club’s employment have already been allowed to leave.
“If we don’t manage to get sponsorships next year, we will set up a team for just three months and play only in Kolkata League so as not to incur travelling expenses,” Raju said.

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