A ‘distraught’ Gokulam Kerala women’s team will return home from Uzbekistan on Monday after being withdrawn from the AFC Women’s Club Championship following FIFA’s ban on India.
The 23-member team, led by India’s captain Ashalata Devi, has been stuck in Tashkent for six days since arriving in the Uzbek capital on August 16, the day news of the ban imposed on the AIFF by the world governing body FIFA has reached India. .
Indian Women’s League champions Gokulam was due to face local side Sogdiana-W in Qarshi on August 23 and Iran’s Bam Khatoon FC in their next round robin match on August 26.
”Yes, it’s confirmed. We have been told by the Ministry of Sports that their request to FIFA and the AFC to allow us to play in the AFC Women’s Club Championships has been denied. So we don’t play. The organizers also told us that we couldn’t play,’ Gokulam Kerala chairman VC Praveen told PTI.
”We were trying to fly the players home on Sunday but there is no flight from Tashkent to India. The first flight is Monday, so we try to get the players home on Monday or Tuesday,’ he added.
“Of course, the players are upset by the turn of events and they had to suffer through no fault of their own. The club must have suffered.” Praveen said the AFC should have allowed his club to participate in the Championships as the players left for the tournament before the ban came into effect.
”We didn’t know about the ban before leaving Kozhikode, we only learned about the ban from AIFF after we reached Uzbekistan.
“FIFA and the AFC should have been considerate, either the ban should have been after these championships or we should have been allowed to participate in them.” He said the club would ask the AFC to compensate the money spent on the players. ‘ travel and accommodation, which will cost hundreds of thousands of rupees.
”The AFC normally reimburses expensive airfare, travel and accommodation for its tournaments. So we’ll make a request to the AFC and see what happens.” The club had made a request to the sports ministry and also wrote to the prime minister for help.
The AFC has also removed Gokulam Kerala’s scheduled matches which previously featured on its website.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)