After men's team fined, Kerala Blasters 'temporarily pauses' women's team
The ISL outfit announced the move through a Press Release, citing financial sanctions as the reason behind temporarily disbanding the women's team.
Indian Super League outfit Kerala Blasters is set to discontinue their women's team, citing financial sanctions as the reason behind this move, the club announced on Tuesday. In a release, the club re-iterated how this move is a mere 'temporary pause'.
"It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the temporary pause of our Women’s Team. This decision has been necessitated by the recent financial sanctions imposed on our club by the football federation," the release said.
Earlier this year, the men's team was slapped with a Rs. 4 crore fine by the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) after the side staged a walk-out against Bengaluru FC during the ISL 2022-23 playoffs after a controversial Sunil Chhetri goal was allowed to stand. However, further sanctions from the Indian Super League may well be in the cards.
"Not to mention, the Club is still awaiting further sanctions from the league body as well that are only likely to augment the financial impact on the Club," the press release mentioned.
The women's team was founded back in July 2022 when they plied their trade in the Kerala Women's League after a string of friendly matches. After an impressive inaugural campaign, the Blasters narrowly lost out on an Indian Women's League spot as Lord's FA became the side to qualify for the league from Kerala.
"To our incredible women’s team members, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for the dedication, resilience, and talent you have displayed throughout your time with us. You have been an inspiration to us all, and we are committed to supporting you individually in any way we can during this pause," the release added.
The club reminded their fans how this move is temporary in nature, and how the women's team would be re-instated once the issues were resolved. "It is important to highlight that this pause is temporary. We will reinstate our Women’s Team upon closure of this matter in its entirety," the press release said.
This move has disappointed and enraged fans and footballers in equal measure. Indian national team goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan was amongst many who voiced their opinion on this matter.
Interestingly, The Bridge understands that talks of disbanding the women's team were going on inside the club since February of this year, approximately a month before the walk-out happened, and two months before the fine was charged by the AIFF.
With the Indian Women's League to be played in a home-away format from next season onwards, it is left to see when the club resolves its issues and re-instates the women's team, allowing them to vie for the KWL title this time around and enter the country's top division.