New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sought response of the Centre and All India Football Federation on a plea by sports club Churchill Brothers which has been denied permission to participate in the upcoming season of I-League due to alleged failure to comply with licencing norms.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru issued notice to the Sports Ministry and All India Football Federation (AIFF), seeking their replies in two weeks, while observing that Churchill Brothers is one of the few remnants of football in the country.
While issuing notice to AIFF, the bench also observed that some of its reasons for not allowing Churchill Brothers to play in the I-League, the country's primary football competition which will commence in January 2015, border on "nit-picking".
"Some of your objections border on nit-picking. If this writ petition is examined in detail, you will invite observations on your functioning. You get the drift. Get instructions on how you want to proceed," the bench said.
"You file your counter affidavits. We will examine each and every objection. You can't get away with this," the court said to AIFF. In defence of its decision, AIFF said that the club does not have a proper youth development programme as required under the licencing norms and alleged that it also does not have all mandatory officers like doctors as staff.
AIFF said these officers were not found present when it inspected the office of the club. The court, thereafter, asked the club to address the issues raised by AIFF in its rejoinder. AIFF also told the court that nine teams for the I-League have already been decided and allowing Churchill at this stage would lead to removal of some other club.
It further said that allowing Churchill would amount to others who are in a similar position to seek a similar relief which would impede commencement of the I-League. Churchill Brothers, along with United Sports Club and Mohammedan Sporting, were denied participation in the league.
AIFF also said that more than a year was given to the club to comply with the norms, but they did not do so in the given time and added that they could be allowed to play in the second division games.
The club, however, opposed the same saying it would amount to relegation.