Pune: In what turns out to be a piece of bittersweet news in Indian football, Indian Super League (ISL) outfit FC Pune City will not be a part of the upcoming 2019-20 season of ISL and will relocate to Hyderabad.
The Stallions have been suffering financial struggles throughout the fifth season of ISL and payments to several players and members of the coaching staff were delayed. The club chairman Dheeraj Wadhawan has written a letter to all the players and support staff reassuring them that all their dues will be cleared in instalments.
The matters took an ugly twist when Canadian striker Iain Hume and Indian forward Ashique Kuruniyan wrote to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in this regard and demanded the Federation to intervene. The club subsequently reached a settlement with Hume, promising to pay his due amount in two instalments before July 15.
The team management will complete the payment due to all the players and team staff by July 15 in instalments.
Further, the team management has decided to sell the club to a potential investor. The new owners will be announced in the next three weeks and the club also lined up backup buyers for the club in case the talks with the current buyers fail.
Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel said that the club is in discussions with multiple investors and will take a final decision once we conclude the discussion.
The new owner is set to be from Hyderabad and will relocate the franchise to the capital city of Telangana. This might also mean the termination of existing contracts of the Pune players.
According to the rules, delay in payments by at least two months results in a breach of contract and gives the liberty to the players to move elsewhere for a free transfer. But the club management has told the players that their dues will be cleared and have requested the players not to seek a move elsewhere as the if the important players leave the club, the potential new owners might find it difficult to build a team again.
Pune has seen several clubs shut down in the recent past including Bharat FC, Pune FC and DSK Shivajians and unfortunately FC Pune City is the new entrant in this ominous list.
However, the football fans in Hyderabad will be pleased to hear that ISL is now set to come to their city. The city has a lot of football fans and a rich history of football, which might be just the right ingredients for the healthy running of a top football club in the city.