SRINAGAR : At a time when State Government claims that development of sports is one of its top priorities, Jammu and Kashmir Bank is planning to wind up its football team.
After November 2016 demonetization, the Bank had asked its players to report to their respective branches and stop daily practice and participation in football events. Even the players were not spared for participation in national events.
“I met the Chairman J&K Bank, Parvez Sahib personally in December 2016 and requested him to allow the Bank team to participate in football events. That time he told me only after March 2017, the players could be spared for football as the financial position of the Bank was bad,” President J&K Football Association, Zamir Thakur said in a statement to press.
Thakur said that even after March the players haven’t been spared to participate in the football activities. “The Bank team hasn’t renewed its annual registration with JKFA till date, which is mandatory for every team and club. It shows that the Bank management has decided to wind up its team,” he said.
Lashing out at the management of the Bank for anti-sports decisions, the JKFA President said, “JK Bank has spent crores of rupees on the development of Kashmir Golf Course under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Golf is the game of elite and is being played by a few dozen elite while as football is a poor man’s game and JKFA has registered more than 20 thousand players across the state.”
He welcomed the decision of Managing Director (MD) J&K Power Development Corporation (PDC) to raise a new football team, selection process for which is going on at the moment. “In the whole India, corporate sector spends lot of money for raising new teams. They encourage youths to take up sports, but here, the JK Bank wants to wind up the team which is already established. There are some players in the Bank team who had joined it from other departments like JK Forest. Now their dreams will be shattered,” he said.
The JKFA President appealed the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu to personally look into the matter so that a football team like JK Bank could be saved. “It will be a huge loss to the football of the state, if the JK Bank team is closed down,” he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that JK Bank football team was considered as powerhouse of the state football and has produced some of the best footballers of the state which include Ishfaq Ahmad, Mehraj-ud-Din Wadoo, Arun Malhotra, Ramesh Chander and Jhonny Kumar, who are all of international repute. The Bank team which was raised in 1980’s has produced more than 50 percent of players who have represented the state at the national level.
According to JKFA General Secretary S Hameed, there is a government order which states that any employee who is selected for national event has to be given one-month special leave. “But here the situation is entirely different as players are not even being allowed to represent the state. If the JK Bank football team is closed down, it will be a huge blow to the football of the state,” he said.