Rajasthan United FC have come out and categorically denied that they are withdrawing from the I-League 2021-22 after a media report stated that they were all set to forfeit from the league owing to the lack of funds. Rajasthan United FC won the I-League qualifiers in October to qualify for this season of the I-League.
“Rajasthan United would like to unequivocally say that the club has no intention to withdraw from the I-League. Any reports suggesting this are unfounded and based on rumour. No club officials have released a statement regarding a withdrawal,” the club said in its statement.
This clarification came after a media report quoted a club official saying, “Our expenditures have increased by 15-20L and we really can’t afford that. We will soon be writing to AIFF regarding our plans to withdraw. We do not have enough funds. If investors don’t come, we have no option but to do this.”
RUFC have now deleted the statement post and have instead quote tweeted the clarification over the story from the media house.
Rajasthan United FC let go of their coach Vikrant Sharma after qualifying for the I-League. They also did not retain a number of their players who helped them qualify.
Ahead of the I-League season, the club made a big signing in former ISL player Marcelinho, which was seen as a signing of intent.
However, before the start of the season itself, Rajasthan United were hit with a massive roadblock when they had to field only nine players in their debut match against RoundGlass Punjab FC.
The transfer window for professional players closes on August 31 but Rajasthan United underwent a major overhaul trying to get “better players for the higher league”.
In their statement, they said that since the window closes on August 31, it “meant registering players would be tough and all transfers could only resume in the new year).”
But then they went on to add in the statement that AIFF issued a statement on December 14 stating that teams facing this issue could field amateur players, who would be allowed to play as such till December 31, 2021. “Respecting the statement, RUFC registered a significant number of their players as amateurs for the time period they gave,” the statement read.
However, Rajasthan United said AIFF issued a second statement on December 21 stating that only players registered on or before August 31 will be allowed to be field in the I-League before the January transfer window. This left Rajasthan United with only nine eligible players to field.
RUFC, hence, requested RoundGlass Punjab FC and AIFF to consider postponing their first fixture on December 26 but both parties denied the request.
After Rajasthan United put out their statement, AIFF clarified their stance and their statement read as follows:
“The AIFF would like to clarify the confusion over the registration and participation of amateur players in the Hero I-League 2021-22. As per the AIFF Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players 2021 (AIFF RSTP) amateur players may only participate in professional competitions (i.e., the Hero I-League) should such amateur players be registered in the professional registration window.
“Earlier this year a decision was taken that only professional players would be allowed to participate in the Hero I-League 2021-22. However, keeping in mind the clubs being promoted from the 2nd division, the League committee created an exception to allow the participation of amateur players till the 31st of December 2021 if they were already registered with such clubs in a professional registration period as per the AIFF RSTP.
“Following the recommendation of the League Committee, the matter was referred to the Players Status & Registration, and the Legal departments for their necessary inputs, who acted as per the statutes of the RSTP.
“It is pertinent to note that FIFA has approved the AIFF RSTP. In this regard, the AIFF is bound to respect its own rules which are in consonance with the FIFA RSTP. Therefore, the AIFF is not in a position to allow any amateur players registered outside the professional registration window to take the field for the Hero I-League 2021-22 till they sign professional contracts and register themselves as professionals in the second transfer window of the 2021-22 season which opens on January 1, 2022.”
Rajasthan United played with just nine men and held RoundGlass Punjab FC to a 2-2 draw.
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