Panaji: Dempo SC and All India Football Federation seemed to be heading for a collision course with the former asking their players to return from SAFF Championships duty for Sunday`s Goan derby against Churchill Brothers.
It is reliably learnt from Dempo officials that the club has sent flight tickets for all their eight national team players to return home after the opening match against Afghanistan tomorrow, arrive in Goa on the day of the crucial derby and then leave for Delhi for the SAFF tournament again.
The official said that Dempo had released all eight of their players for SAFF Championships which began today with a condition that either the Goa derby on December 4 be postponed or the players be released specifically for the clash.
The AIFF, however, was in no mood for a postponement of the I-League match as they are wary of a backlash from other clubs should any of the Dempo players be released midway through an international tournament.
"It was decided at the I-League committee meting prior to the competition that the eight round would go ahead without the national players. All players, including Dempo, had agreed. There cannot be any change in the schedule at the moment," I-League CEO Sunando Dhar said.
A team source, however, said that there was no question of Dempo players leaving for Goa for the derby match.
"None of the players are leaving the team. You cannot allow it to some players of a club only," he said.