Football Players Association of Sikkim Release Strongly-worded Reply to Bhaichung Bhutia's Comment on Santosh Trophy Boycott
Bhaichung Bhutia criticised the situation where the Sikkim footballers and the association are at loggerheads, which has led to the state missing this year's Santosh Trophy.
File photo of Bhaichung Bhutia.
The ongoing war of words between Sikkim Football Association (SFA) and Football Players Association of Sikkim (FPA Sikkim), took another ugly turn as Indian football icon Bhaichung Bhutia's statement was met with a statement from the player's association.
The continuing impasse between the footballers and the association has seen a Sikkim missing this year's Santosh Trophy and also a mass boycott of clubs from the Sikkim Premier Division League.
Commenting on the situation of football in the state, Bhaichung Bhutia called the current situation a black day for Sikkim football.
"This could have been resolved amicably," Bhutia was quoted as saying by the local press.
"Due to some egoistic individuals, it has become a big issue. September 23, 2019, will be considered as a black day for Sikkim football as the state was supposed to play their first Santosh Trophy match this season," Bhutia told reporters.
The 'Football Players Association of Sikkim' has hit out at the comment's saying: "The boycott was not done in isolation. It was rather the end result of the regressive stranglehold that the Sikkim Football Association had on the players against their welfare and interests."
The statement then goes on to list out a point-by-point rebuttal. The FPA Sikkim allege that the decision to skip the Santosh Trophy should not be criticised as Sikkim had chosen not to send their women's team for the 'senior national championship' (which were recently held in Arunachal Pradesh) along with the fact that their junior team was "hastily" sent for the U-14 national tournament (where they conceded 36 goals in two matches).
The statement also alleged that the association "waited till the last moment as usual" to shortlist players for the Santosh Trophy and even named "four players from outside Sikkim".
The players argued that the association could have chosen to halt the Sikkim league and have a preparatory camp for the Santosh Trophy so that the league nor the clubs suffer.
In response to Bhutia's comment on players missing the national tournament would "affect their career", the player's body asked, "did their (Sunil Chhetri and Bhaichung Bhutia) teams came for the tournament with preparations of few days?"
"At least two months with proper coaching and other facilities are required," the statement read.
The FPA Sikkim also took a potshot at the "Senior Division League of just 14 days" in Sikkim and said the "players have to negotiate for longer duration of the league."
Sikkim was supposed to play their first Santosh Trophy qualifying round match against Chattisgarh on September 23.
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