Kerala Blasters Football Club's management has decided to temporarily stop the functioning of its women's team. The club management has cited the recent financial sanctions imposed on the Indian Super League (ISL) franchise by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for the sudden decision.
"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. While we respect the authority and decisions of the federation, we cannot deny our disappointment at the impact it is likely to have across various functions of our Club.
"We deeply regret that we cannot continue our women's team activities until such time that there is complete clarity on the matter. The decision to pause their activities was made after careful consideration and evaluation of the current circumstances. 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.
"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.
"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.
"To our loyal supporters, we understand your disappointment, and we share your frustration. Your unwavering support for our women's team has been phenomenal, and we assure you that we will be back," read a statement from Blasters.
Indian women's football team goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan took to Twitter to express her disappointment at the decision.
Blasters had finished third in their inaugural season in the Kerala Women's League (2022-23).
The AIFF last Friday rejected Blasters' appeal against the Rs 4 crore fine imposed on them for misconduct and abandonment of their ISL playoff match against Bengaluru FC.
The committee also rejected Blasters head coach Ivan Vukumanovic's appeal against the fine of Rs 5 lakh and a 10-game ban imposed on him.
In both cases, the Appeal Committee upheld the earlier decisions of the Disciplinary Committee and asked to "pay the respective fines within two weeks".
Blasters' playoff on March 3 sparked controversy as the Yellow Brigade walked off the field claiming that Sunil Chhetri's goal from an extra time free-kick was not "legitimate".
They claimed that referee Crystal John did not blow the whistle before Chhetri took the free-kick and the players were not ready.
(With inputs from PTI)