Minerva to AIFF: East Bengal officials made improper approach to our players
I-League leaders Minerva FC have accused a rival team's official of making improper approaches to members of his team before the final day of the league on Thursday.
AIFF confirmed having received Bajaj's letter on Wednesday evening. "The case is presently being handled by AIFF Integrity officer who is doing a thorough investigation into the matter and necessary action will be taken as per the regulations," the statement read.
ESPN understands that the letter -- addressed to AIFF CEO Kushal Das, I-League CEO Sunando Dhar among others -- accuses Abdul Siddiqui, the goalkeeping coach of East Bengal of having made the approach ahead of their match against Chennai City FC on March 2nd.
"What is the most shocking, is that Goalkeeping coach of EB Mr. Siddique [sic] called up our Head Coach Mr. Khogen Singh and told him that Minerva has already hired Mr. Santosh Kashyap for next season and he has no future in Minerva, but he may have a future in East Bengal next season if he plays his cards right," Bajaj writes in the letter.
The letter also mentions that other officials of the Kolkata club had called Rohit Ramesh, the owner of Chennai City and accused him of fixing his side's match with Bajaj, a game Chennai eventually won 2-1.
"Considering these improper approaches for match fixing by KEB officials, we appeal to AIFF to investigate the matter urgently, and if these allegations are proven correct, said officials should be suspended from the last game. We request the AIFF to investigate and conclude this matter before the last match and award stern punishment to the officials involved to set an example against such unfair methods being adopted off the field," the letter reads.
It is learnt that Bajaj is yet to substantiate the allegations made in his letter, though the letter says, "All these approaches can be confirmed by a single phone call to the people who have been approached or simply by checking call records."
This is not the first time that Bajaj has made allegations of impropriety. On January 18, Bajaj had claimed an approach to two of his players to fix matches, and reported the same to the Asian Football Conference (AFC) as well as AIFF.