Aizawl FC have warned they will resort to a hunger strike “unto death” if they are not afforded the chance to defend their status as Indian champions.
As reported by Express News Service (via IE Sports), a restructuring of the league system in India is set to see Aizawl, who won the 2016-17 I-League, left out of the new Indian Super League, prompting the club to make a complaint to the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
— Tottenham Hotspur (@Spurs_India) May 1, 2017
Per the initial source, after making it clear they will look to push their complaint through official channels, Aizawl said in a statement if that process doesn’t work “the club will have no other choice but will resort to world-wide protests, sitting demonstration near AFC/FIFA offices, picketing of AIFF office, mass hunger strike/fast unto death protest.”
The Full Statement:
Aizawl FC has submitted its formal claim to AIFF to continue in the top league… pic.twitter.com/Z43cHEV0OA
— Aizawl Football Club (@AizawlFC) May 2, 2017
According to Goal, the three teams set to join the Indian Super League from the I-League are Bengaluru FC, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. It’s suggested in the report that Aizawl have made their case to the organisers to be a part of the new setup.
“How can the reigning champions be relegated to second division?” said the club’s owner Robert Royte, per Express News.
“We will not accept it, no chance. We will be playing in the Asian competitions. How silly will it be if the India’s champions are playing in Asia but back home, they are not allowed to play in the main league?”
Aizawl‘s title win was an unexpected one. As noted by Sharda Ugra of ESPN, the team have one of the lowest budgets in the I-League.
Here’s what Royte had to say after their incredible triumph:
— Aizawl Football Club (@AizawlFC) April 30, 2017
In addition to their league success, Aizawl also finished as runners-up in last season’s Federation Cup. Their success is set to see them take part in the AFC Champions League next season too.
Culled from bleacher report