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Bhaichung Bhutia owned United Sikkim FC shuts shop

The first club from the state, United Sikkim FC was formed in 2004 and has been in existence for 15 years till last night

Bhaichung Bhutia owned United Sikkim FC shuts shop

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 9 Nov 2021 4:42 AM GMT

After 15 years of existence, Bhaichung Bhutia co-owned I-League club United Sikkim FC will cease got exist as the club shut shop citing 'conflict of interest'. United Sikkim FC, which made it to the country's top-tier I-League in 2012-13 season after winning the second division league will close down out of issues arising with its founder Bhaichung Bhutia's association with the state governing body of the game.

The first club from the state, United Sikkim was formed in 2004 by three friends, Bhaichung Bhutia, Arjun Rai and Sherap Lepcha and turned into a professional club for a short period of time in 2011. USFC is also only the second team from the Northeast to play in the I-League. The team has also won four state league titles and the Independence Cup twice. It was the only club in India to have been sponsored by Nike in the I-League and by Lotto last year.

Denoting the developments, the club statement said, "This has been a very difficult decision for us to take. It is with great pain that we are announcing that United Sikkim Football Club will cease to exist from today."

"We have come to a decision to shut the club after 15 years of existence for two reasons majorly. Firstly, to focus on football and secondly, there has been a huge conflict of interest since both Bhaichung and Arjun are now part of the Sikkim Football Association."

United Sikkim FC has been a constant benefactor of the sport throughout the region. Heralded for producing promising talents, the likes of Sandesh Jhingan have come up the ranks of the northeast club. Owing to United Sikkim's contribution, at one time 14 to 18 local players were playing in the I-League as the numbers have drastically fell in recent times.

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