SRINAGAR;-A day after Minerva Punjab skipped their I-League match against Real Kashmir in Srinagar in the wake of the Pulwama Terror Attack, Bengaluru FC expressed interest to play a friendly against the Kashmiri club in the Valley.
Minerva Punjab did not turn up for the match fearing a threat to their players. At least 42 CRPF personnel lost their lives after a Jaish-e-Mohammed-affiliated terrorist rammed an SUV with explosives into their convoy on February 14.
Minerva Punjab sought a security assurance from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the AIFF but failed to receive any. They subsequently did not travel to Jammu and Kashmir.
Real Kashmir expressed disappointment over Minerva Punjab not travelling to Srinagar for the game, calling it a sad day for football.
Reacting to RKFC, Parth Jindal, CEO of the 2018 Indian Super League (ISL) finalists and two-time I-League champions, claimed Bengaluru FC was ready for an exhibition match in Srinagar whenever RKFC could invite them.
“We look forward to the opportunity of sharing this beautiful game in your beautiful state which is an integral part of our great country,” Jindal said in his tweet.
In response, Real Kashmir tweeted: “Let’s do this. We and the people of Kashmir would be more than glad to host you. March? What say? We promise the most electric football atmosphere! Let’s play to heal. Let’s pray together for the departed and share the grief of bereaved.”Real Kashmir v Minerva Punjab hearing on Feb 22
Minerva Punjab moved the Delhi High Court on Monday, February 18, seeking directions for the match to be moved out of Srinagar. Minerva stated its petition that it was ready to play in any safe venue other than Srinagar.
The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for February 22 and a verdict may come out on the same day.
The I-League has currently refrained from awarding 3 points to Real Kashmir after Minerva Punjab’s forfeit since the matter is pending in court.
Meanwhile, Football Delhi, the local federation in the Capital, offered to host Real Kashmir’s remaining home games against Minerva Punjab and East Bengal in its Ambedkar Stadium.
Its president Shaji Prabhakaran also offered to host a charity match for the families of the martyred soldiers of the CRPF.
“We, Football Delhi, are ready to organise Bengaluru FC and Real Kashmir charity match for the education/long term medical policy of martyred family,” Prabhakaran said.It remains to be seen whether the dream friendly between Real Kashmir and Bengaluru actually takes place in March.