Dias protests against Mah United

Updated: 09 September 2008 06:47 IST

The India midfielder has taken a stand against his club and says he won't play for club and country before his demands are met.

New Delhi:

Taking a strong stance against his employers Mahindra United, India midfielder Steven Dias on Wednesday threatened not to play for club and country unless his demands are met by the Mumbai outfit.

Steven, who along with N.P. Pradeep inked a deal with East Bengal despite having a two-year contract with the Mumbai club, is miffed with Mahindra United officials for rejecting the Kolkata club's offer to negotiate as per the directive of the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) Players' Status Committee.

"The status committee had asked the clubs to resolve it (the transfer matter) amicably but Mahindra United didn't show any kind of respect to that decision," Steven told PTI over phone from Goa.

Steven said he had a talk with Mahindra United President Alan Durante and would be meeting him in a day or two.

"If he wants me to stay then I will ask him to increase my salary. If he refuses, I will rather spend one year at home and not play for club and country," he said.

The status committee in a meeting on August 28 had urged the officials of both clubs to start negotiations and reach a decision by September 7.

In case the clubs fail to resolve the matter amicably, both players would have to turn out for Mahindra United, the committee has ruled.

Steven, who has been with Mahindra United for four seasons, said he battled pain in his right ankle and still played for the country in the AFC Challenge Cup.

"I didn't practise for a month following the injury (sustained at the SAFF Cup semi-final). My doctor said I run a grave risk but I went on and played in the AFC Challenge Cup. But the AIFF didn't help me in this transfer saga," Steven said.

The midfielder, who would be earning twice had he made the switch to East Bengal, said he would not settle for less from Mahindra United.

"I don't want my value to go down. They said we will let you go if a good offer comes along but now they are turning their back on us."

Steven said he would be taking up the matter with the Football Players' Association of India and urge Bhaichung Bhutia to help.

He also admitted that since players in India do not have agents, club officials get a free hand to run the show.

While Steven seemed in no mood to relent, Pradeep was not ready to take such a drastic step.

"I will stay at home unless anybody from Mahindra United gets in touch. If they don't I won't join practice," the utility player said from Kerala.

He too would be urging Mahindra United to increase his salary but is not sure what his next step would be if they don't.

"I had a chat with Steven. Let's wait for Mahindra United officials to get in touch with me," he added.

He also blamed East Bengal officials for making them sign the contract despite the fact that they had a two-year deal with Mahindra United.

"They said things would be alright and made us sign the contract. But now we are in a real mess."

Topics : Football
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