Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Thursday said he was upset with the attitude of the Sikkim Football Association (SFA) as it had 'ignored' the demands of the clubs of the state.
Bhutia, CEO of United Sikkim Football Club, said the recently formed Football Club Association of Sikkim (FCAS) had sent its demands twice to the SFA but got a reply which only told the clubs to comply with a 13-point criteria.
"The criteria was such that even Asian Football Confederation did not apply them to foreign teams to take part in tournaments organised by them," he told a press conference.
"This is just telling us indirectly that we are not welcome to contribute for the benefit of football at grassroot level," Bhaichung, an executive member of the FCAS, said. Various other members of the FCAS were present at the press conference.
Among other demands, FCAS had sought that two members of all clubs that have played in Senior Division S-League for a minimum of five years be given permanent membership with voting rights in the SFA and two FACS executive members be made executive members of SFA.
Another demand of the FCAS was that clubs from within and around Gangtok playing in S-League and Independence Day tournaments be given Rs 5,000 per match by the organizing committee. Also, teams from outside Gangtok be given taxi fare besides Rs 5,000.
The SFA reply had puzzled everyone as, if the 13-point criteria was followed, many clubs would fail to qualify even for the local S-league since SFA wanted that 20 players of each participating club would have to be below 20 years of age, Bhutia said.
"We met the sports minister today. He has assured us to intervene in this matter," he said.