I-League: Real Kashmir FC, Gokulam Kerala Make Peace After Spat


NEW DELHI — Real Kashmir FC and Gokulam Kerala buried the hatchet after a bitter spat over training ground, with the third-placed visitors agreeing to go ahead with their I-League game in Kozhikode on Saturday.

“All set for the game tomorrow.Lets play.@ILeagueOfficial,” Real Kashmir FC wrote on their twitter handle after the two teams decided to make peace during a meeting.

Earlier in the day, Real Kashmir had alleged they were hurled abuses and manhandled by officials of Gokulam Kerala, who “deprived” the visitors training facilities ahead of their game.

“Football is passion for RKFC and whatever happened at Kozhikode today was not in the interest of the game,” Real Kashmir co-owner Sandeep Chattoo said through the club’s twitter handle.

Lying third after a sensational start to their maiden season in top-flight, Real Kashmir are scheduled to face seventh-placed Gokulam Kerala at the EMS Corporation Stadium.

“Winning or losing is a part of game and we hope that football wins! It’s heartwarming to receive an overwhelming support of local Kerala population which rallied behind RKFC,” Sandeep Chattoo and Shamim Mehraj, Co-founders, Real Kashmir FC, said on twitter.

The Srinagar-based club also tweeted a photo of the two coaches — Real Kashmir FC’s David Robertson and Gokulam Kerala’s Bino George — shaking hands on the eve of the match.

Gokulam Kerala also wanted to look ahead to the game, which they will need to win to avoid slipping further in the peking order.

“GKFC requests everyone concerned to put an end to this chapter and focus on the better things, we will continue to be good hosts no matter what others say about us,” Gokulam Kerala tweeted.

Real Kashmir have had a wonderful campaign till now collecting 13 points from seven games, with four wins to their credit. 

Gokulam have earned nine from the same number of games but have had some good days in office.

GKFC coach George said: “It is a do or die match for us, the players are ready to face @realkashmirfc and they are motivated to prove themselves. We hope to get our 3 points, and stay in the @ILeagueOfficial fight.”

Earlier, countering RKFC’s claims, Gokulam Kerala FC had issued a clarification and alleged poor and irresponsible behaviour by the visiting team. Real Kashmir FC club was the first to issue a statement, giving the sequence of events.

“An unfortunate incident happened today morning in Kozhikode in Kerala when the coach and other members of RKFC were abused and heckled by officials of Gokulam Kerala FC,” the Kashmir club had said in a statement.

“As per protocol, the home team is supposed to provide a ground two days ahead of the main game for practice. However, RKFC was deprived of that. This morning no transport was provided to ferry the team from hotel to the ground and when they managed to reach themselves, the home team officials prevented physically from entering the ground,” it added in the statement.

Real Kashmir go into the match after a thumping 6-1 win against Shillong Lajong at home.

They further said, “Abuses were hurled at the team members including their coach and finally the RKFC members were asked to leave the ground and stay indoors till the match tomorrow with Gokulam Kerala FC.

“There was no team bus, no proper training ground was provided by the host Gokulam Kerala FC, which is a mandatory requirement as per the guidelines of the I-League.”

This is Real Kashmir’s first season in the I-League after winning the second division last year.

“We condemn the treatment that has been met by our team members who have been asked to stay inside the hotel till tomorrow’s game.

“Our coach and staff was abused by the officials of Gokulam Kerala FC. We need police protection and assurance that none of our players or staff members will be harmed,” said Real Kashmir.

Gokulam also took to Twitter to issue a clarification. Gokulam said that they had arranged for a bus for the club officials to the Medical College training ground. Gokulam alleged that Real Kashmir invaded the EMS stadium where training a day before the match is not allowed.

“Today is ‘Harthal’ (strike) organised by a political party. After a long previous night of arrangements to get the transport for both the teams, we managed to send the bus for RKFC. Medical college ground was booked for RKFCs training,” Gokulam had said.

“Before the bus arrived, RKFCs officials who are staying in a nearby hotel invaded the EMS Stadium, where training a day before the match is not allowed. To keep this in track, we refused to let them train in the EMS.

“RKFC officials stormed the FOP and manhandled the groundsman and threw his phone away when he tried to capture what Mr. Robertson and his club members tried to do.”

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