CHENNAI : The curtains appear to be coming down for one more football club from Pune.
Four years after I-League club Pune FC shut down, Indian Super League outfit FC Pune City has announced their intention to move away from the city.The decision comes after the club faced allegations of non-payment to their top players including Ashique Kuruniyan and Iain Hume.
“Wadhawan Sports Pvt Ltd, which owns FC Pune City, is not winding up its operations, as it has been floating around in some publications, but is, in fact, looking at relocating to a new city,” said the statement, issued on Monday. “The company is in the process of raising capital through a partial stake sale and is in contact with potential investors, as is the process followed by several clubs.”
Pune City has long been plagued by reports of financial woe. They have also been unable to effectively build a fanbase over five seasons of the ISL with them featuring in the bottom two on the official average attendance table in all but one season. Pune City FC and Pune FC are not the only teams to try operate out of the city and fail — DSK Shivajians played two seasons in the I-League at the Balewadi Sports Complex only to withdraw in 2017.
It is understood that Hyderabad is the team’s likely destination though sources close to the club maintain that they are still looking at multiple options. “The current feeling is that the parent group has no presence in Hyderabad, so everything will have to be built up from scratch,” said sources.Despite issues over payment, the club sought to reassure the players maintaining that commitments made to them will be honoured. “To all the players who are contractually obliged to FC Pune City, we wish to inform you that all the financial obligations will be met as per the agreed schedule. We advise you to not fall prey to frivolous rumours surrounding the club.
“To all those clubs who have approaching players contracted to FC Pune City directly, we would like to remind them that this is against the statutes put in place by FIFA,” the statement added.Pune City is not the only club to be linked with shifting base recently — Delhi Dynamos were linked with a move to Bhubaneswar but club officials have repeatedly shot down those rumours.