According to a player agent who talked to us on the condition of anonymity Wadhawan group-owned franchisee, FC Pune City is set to move out of Pune after a disastrous 2018-19 ISL season. FCPC, if shifts their base will be the fourth Indian Club to pull their shutter down in the city following the likes of Pune FC, Bharat FC and DSK Shivajians.
The Wadhawan group owned franchise sunk to a deep financial crisis in the middle of the season when whistleblower CobraPost alleged the group of accumulating debts through proxy sub companies.
Market shares of Wadhawan Group immediately plunged to a static crisis, making it very difficult for the club to sustain in Pune. Moreover the prime sponsors like Abil and Girikhand being not eager to forge a realliance with club, might have propelled Gaurav Modwel and Co. to such a decision.
So in which city can this club relocate?
FSDL has advised FCPC to shift their base to either of the five cities-Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, in Rajasthan, Punjab or Orissa. According to our sources, League Committee has been very clear that the club should shift to a city which doesn’t have an ISL club.
An unnamed official has confirmed that Hyderabad and Ahmedabad are the front runners. FCPC reportedly has an amicable term with Fateh Hyderabad which might compel them to ply their trade in the city of Nizams. However things might change if the club manages to get reasonable sponsors from other cities.
GMC Balayogi Sports Complex, Hyderabad
The Arena by Transstadia, Ahmedabad
Apart from Rajasthan, where there’s no proper football stadium, all other cities are self sufficient in terms of football infrastructure. Hyderabad has Gachi Bawli stadium, while Ahmedabad has AFC-approved TransStadia Arena. Kalinga Stadium in Bhubhaneswar can also be a possible destination for the Stallions.
The Wage Payment Controversy
FC Pune City has allegedly failed to pay their players and employees for the last 4 months including May. Although the club is desperately trying to clear the dues, but things have worsened as their striker Iain Hume complained to FIFA on the non-payment of contract value. FIFA transferred the matter to AFC who in turn informed the matter to AIFF and the club. AIFF has sent an intimation to the club that they have to clear the payments by August.
From our sources we can understand that the club has promised to pay overdues of all the players and official by August, in 3 equal installments, on the 10th day of every month.
What is going to happen to the Squad?
It is reported that FC Pune City are also set to overhaul their squad once they settle on their financial status. Marceilinho has been Pune’s marquee star who can vouch to be one of the best foreigners in recent seasons. Allegedly FCPC is not happy with the attitude the Brazilian has shown in this season. His temper has let him down time and again and his towering fee has also been a point of concern for the franchise . It needs to be seen whether or not Marcelinho will be retained as the current situation means his future at the club is at stake.
Marko Stankovic is the only foreigner that the club is eager to retain. Surprisingly neither of Martin Diaz and Matt Mills are in the plans of the franchise for the upcoming season even after being their key players this season. Several Indian youngsters are also set to be released from the current squad – likes of Nim Dorjee Tamang, Sankar Sampanjiraj, Alwyn George etc.
All of these certainly validates the situation Pune is in and as a result of it we might see a new look Stallion squad in the upcoming season.
FCPC are set to receive the services of Gaurav Bora and Tarif Akhand, both of whom, have been the defensive pillars of I-league champions Chennai City FC.
Ashique Kuruniyan, FCPC’s asset has reportedly turned down offers from elsewhere as the lanky lad from Malappuram is set to take the charge for the stallions next year.
All of these might be in the line of the new approach that the club has undertaken, to reduce expenditure on player’s salary, as they are reportedly planning to limit the team budget within 8-10 crores.
What About the Ownership ?
Our source shared that right now it is almost certain, that the club CEO, Mr. Gaurav Modwel is not too keen on retaining the position. The rumours suggest that he might leave the club in August after completing his rest of the responsibilities, which indicates that the CEO intends to leave only after paying the overdue wages.
It is expected that there will be change of ownership as well. It is speculated that Rajesh Wadhawan Group, will be open for bidding and selling the club or add new investors. However there mightn’t be any major changes in management and Technical Team.
So we can interpret that from whichever city the highest bid will come FC Pune City will change their base there.
In the end we can say that moving out of Pune can be blessing in disguise for FC Pune City. They failed miserably in Pune- as neither did they turn the industrial city towards football nor did they get any substantial success. With New Owners , New Names, and New City, A change of fortune can be on the cards for the ISL franchise .