"The Tamil Nadu team will surely participate in the Santosh Trophy National football championship,” reiterated C.R. Visswanathan, media-committee chairman of the Tamil Nadu Football Association represented by President in charge N. Balasubramani. Tamil Nadu had finished runner- up at the last National in Cuttack.
With the ongoing legal process and Mr. Balasubramani establishing his case as on date as the President in charge of TFA vis-a-vis incumbent President Seeni Mohaideen there was doubt in some quarters on whether the AIFF would deny recognition to the team, particularly when only a few days ago the Tamil Nadu Olympic Association, had, at AIFF’s request made its own separate arrangements and overseen the selection of the team.
“The current squad comprises the same set of players which was notified to the All India Football Federation by the Tamil Nadu Olympic Association,” he said at a press meet on Saturday. He said as per court orders, only a team approved by Mr. Balasubramani could take part and any change in that procedure would invite contempt proceedings.
Incidentally the only change in the list is with regard to an official. Assistant Coach Unni, who was with Coach Sekharan in the camp and also in the team selection process, has been replaced by S. Grand Durai Pandian. On this change it was clarified that Mr. Unni was nominated in the first place by Mohaideen.
Asked what would happen should the state team, which is leaving on Sunday for Kollam, where it plays its initial matches, was not allowed to participate, Mr Visswanathan shot back that “such a thing will not happen. If it does we will seek legal course of action.” The legal representative present at the press meet said that stopping the team from taking part would amount to contempt of court. “We can also seek damages, for the issue involved the career prospects of the players.”
However speaking to The Hindu from Kochi, Mr. Anil Kumar, General Secretary of the Kerala Football Association, said he was not in receipt of any official word on the issue from the AIFF. “As long as everything is okay from the AIFF side and the court we will receive the team as per rules,” he said.
For the record, the on-going hearing at the City civil court has reached the stage where the Judge has extended till February 25 the interim order restricting action from anyone other than Mr. Balasubramani in the selection of the Tamil Nadu team.