August 8 – I-League club Real Kashmir FC may shift their pre-season preparations to Jamshedpur or Mumbai over the tense situation in the state, clubs officials have said.
The Srinagar-based club defeated Chennai City FC 1-0 in the Durand Cup on Wednesday in Bengal, but with the Indian central government having revoked the Kashmir’s special status enshrined in article 370, the club may have to rethink plans ahead of the new I-League season as tensions mount in the region.
“We will love to go back to Srinagar,” said team’s co-owner and chairman Sandeep Chattoo. “But if for any unfortunate reasons, we don’t go back then we have options. We can take the team anywhere and do the pre-season. We will just wait till the Durand Cup is over. By that time we will decide whether it will be feasible for us to go back and do the pre-season there before the I-League.”
The club has liaised with Jamshedpur’s Tata Football Academy to explore the possibility of moving pre-season training to the famed academy in the south of the country. Mumbai would be another option. “We can go to Mumbai, we can go to Jamshedpur,” said Chattoo. “There was an informal kind of discussion with them and the Tatas have been gracious enough to extend an invitation if required. Nothing official as of now.”
After the Indian government scrapped article 370, Srinagar and Kashmir have gone in lockdown with media reports detailing a military clampdown across the region. “We have absolutely no news about Srinagar as of today,” said Chatoo. “We don’t know what’s happening there because we have no means to communicate with anybody there.”
Last season Kashmir debuted in the I-League and were the surprise package in their maiden season, finishing third in the table.