Chennai: Federation (AIFF) has made it clear that a Tamil Nadu team sent by the faction led by N. Balasubramani would not be allowed to take part at the ongoing Santosh Trophy in Kerala. AIFF secretary Kushal Das told Deccan Chronicle on Saturday that “Tamil Nadu not playing the national football championship is a possibility if the state team is sent by a group that is not recognized by us.”
The group led by Balasubramani has been staking its claim to the Tamil Nadu Football Association (TFA). It conducted a press conference in the city on Saturday about TN’s preparations for the Santosh Trophy and the team’s departure to Kerala on Sunday. In the evening, Balasubramani and people owing allegiance to him gave some kit to players.
The AIFF had asked the Tamil Nadu Olympic Association (TNOA) to select a team for the Santosh Trophy after Balasubramani and co went to court, questioning TFA president S.M. Seeni Mohaideen’s right to continue in his position. TheTNOA selected a team after trials and a camp started immediately under the supervision of chief coach D. Sekaran. But a court order — issued after a petition from Balasubramani — restrained the TNOA from sending a team to the Santosh Trophy.
Das said “there is a strange situation in Tamil Nadu.” “A group which is working against the legally elected state body has gone to court. Even if the TNOA has been restrained from selecting a team, the court has not authorized the group to send a team to the Santosh Trophy. So there is no question of accepting a team that is sent by a faction which has not been recognised by the AIFF. We are also seeking legal advice,” he added.
Tamil Nadu are scheduled to start their Santosh campaign at Kollam from February 21. Football fans in the state had been hoping that Tamil Nadu would go a step further in the national championship this year after reaching the final in the last edition. Maybe they have to wait for one more year.