KATHMANDU, Jan 27: Even as the Martyrs Memorial B Division Football League kicks off from Monday, B division outfit Koilapani Polestar Club of Nawalparasi has decided to pull out of domestic Nepali football.
Among 15 clubs currently in the B division, Koilapani is the second team to pull out of the contest after Star Club expressing dissatisfaction with ANFA.
The Nawalparasi-based team, which was the first club from outside the capital to get the top flight status, said it was forced to quit the league due to financial crunch.
"The main reason for quitting the league is poor financial status of the team," said Darshan Bhattarai, the president of the team, adding that his side will not play C division next year as well. The club which got A division status in 2011 was relegated in the very first season finishing at the bottom of the table. According to Bhattarai, the team had already started training for the league and players were in good shape.
Now only 13 among 15 teams will vie in the B division league which means only one club will face relegation because two clubs that pulled out from the league will be automatically relegated to C division.
B division league coordinator Rajendra Neupane confirmed that Koilapani has officially pulled out of the tournament. "Citing poor financial condition and lack of players Koilapani has pulled out of the tournament and has automatically been relegated to C division."
"We tried to raise funds from corporate houses but we could not get the support we expected," said Bhattarai, whose side had faced a miserable condition while it was in the capital to play top tier football in 2011. "We do not want to face the embarrassment like the one we faced during our A division campaign two years ago. Thus it will be better not to participate in the league."
"We need at least Rs 1.5 million to compete in the league and we do not have the required fund," said Bhattarai, "We will also not compete in the C division league next year as we lack funds."
"It is also a big challenge to the football governing body ANFA and the government that a team which played top tier football a year earlier is unable to play second tier football in the next season due to financial problem," said Bhattarai, who also blamed ANFA for being unsupportive.
"ANFA had provided its Chyasal hostel, kitchen and other facilities during our A division campaign. But it has refused to provide its hostel for the B division league now. Had ANFA provided its hostel we could have played B division," said Bhattarai. "It will be very expensive for us to stay in guest house during the entire league."
Bhattarai has blamed that ANFA did not let the club use its hostel thinking that Koilapani humiliated ANFA. "The football governing body assumed that we tarnished its image by saying we do not have funds. Thus it refused to provide us the hostel."
Meanwhile, the matches of B division league will he held at APF headquarters, Halchowk in which the participating 13 teams will play on round robin basis.
The top four teams will be awarded with Rs 400,000, Rs 200,000, Rs 100,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively. According to ANFA, the participating teams will be given Rs 150,000 each as preparation fees.
Best players in four positions -- goalkeeping, defending, midfield, and forward -- along with coach will be awarded with cash prize worth Rs 25,000 each.