Hyderya Sports Kashmir FC, which was one of the 10 teams slated to play the I-League qualifiers from October 4 in Bengaluru, has disqualified by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) after they produced a fake bank guarantee of Rs 25 lakhs. AIFF had asked all the interested clubs to submit a bank guarantee of the above mentioned amount as part of the selection process for the I-League qualifiers. 29 teams had applied for the qualifiers but only 12 had cleared club licensing, which included Hyderya Sports. The two teams that cleared the licensing and didn’t make the final 10 were Garhwal FC and PIFA Sports FC. Due to the ‘one state one club’ rule, the two teams that finished higher in their respective state leagues - Delhi FC and Kenkre FC - were given the nod from New Delhi and Maharashtra.
Sources say that Hyderya Sports Kashmir FC tried to make a duplicate of the bank guarantee that was submitted by Downtown Heroes, who finished third in the Jammu and Kashmir Professional League. Hyderya had finished second in the league while J&K Bank finished top. Since J&K Bank is an institutional team, it couldn’t have applied for the I-League qualifiers and hence, Hyderya and Downtown applied.
A spokesperson of Hyderya Sports Kashmir FC says the whole menace has happened after the bank employee, who initially provided them with the guarantee, got transferred to another branch.
“It was through the goodwill of the chairman that we had received the bank guarantee from the Dalgate branch of J&K Bank. The employee who had provided us with the guarantee at that time has been transferred to another branch. Now, the branch manager is saying that ‘I hadn’t provided the bank guarantee and whoever did, I don’t know how he did it.’ We asked them to confirm it with that employee but he said it won’t work and we will have to deposit Rs 25 lakhs," he commented in a conversation with News18.com.
He further added that the initial bank guarantee had a clause that if they don’t have cash, they could put an asset as mortgage. However, the bank is refusing to take it.
“We gave them papers of a land, the evaluation of which is Rs 40 lakhs, but they didn’t accept it. We then gave them documents of a car, the value of which is over Rs 35 lakhs according to us, but they refused to take that as well.
“I don’t know if this a political game. I don’t know where we stand at the moment," he said.
Sources close to the bank said that Hyderya Sports Kashmir FC did not produce any land or car papers as mortgage.
AIFF had communicated to Hyderya that the bank guarantee was being cancelled on Saturday but the club wrote back explaining the situation and asked for 2-3 days to sort out the matter.
“If the bank is saying it’s fake, we are asking how it is fake if it has come from them. Our documents were all cleared by the AIFF and suddenly, the bank is saying that the guarantee is not valid," he concluded.
AIFF released a statement later on Monday that Hyderya Sports’ participation from the qualifiers has been withdrawn upon learning that the bank guarantee was “not genuine".
“Upon receiving several complaints regarding the genuineness of a bank guarantee submitted by Hyderya Sports Kashmir FC, the AIFF initiated an enquiry into the matter.
“The inquiry revealed that the bank guarantee so received was not genuine and that the bank guarantee was never officially issued by the bank named therein. The bank guarantee was one of the mandatory requirements to be eligible to participate in the League, which was to be submitted within a specified timeline. The said timeline now stands elapsed and the mandatory requirement has not been fulfilled by the said club. In light of the same Hyderya’s participation in the League stands withdrawn with immediate effect," the statement read.
AIFF statement further said that the association can initiate disciplinary action against the club.
The I-League qualifiers are set to begin from October 4 and without Hyderya, this is how the grouping looks like:
Group A: Rajasthan United FC, Ryntih SC, Madan Maharaj FC, FC Bengaluru United.
Group B: Corbett FC, Kenkre Sports, ARA FC, Kerala United FC, Delhi FC.
News18.com has reached out to the AIFF for comment and the story will be updated as an when a response is received.