IN AN UNFORTUNATE TURN of events, Luca Soccer Club are not going to participate in the I-League 2020-21 season.
The club, based in Malappuram, made quite a stir among Indian football fans when they announced they would pick up I-League bid documents for corporate entry into the league.
The club debuted in the Kerala Premier League last year and has gathered a following in the town of Malappuram, which is referred to by many as the capital of Kerala football.
In a statement, club CEO Waivaw Srivastav said,
"We have decided to put our plans on hold due to unpredictability of events in the future, there's no guaranteed timeline for the complete resumption of activities, next few months are going to be challenging & it's too early to come to a conclusion on anything.
So after consulting our investors, we have planned to pause the developments for now, however that doesn't mean we were intimidated by factors but we are just being rational.
We don't want to disappoint our fans, we genuinely want to give football-loving people of Malappuram & Kerala another alternative from the state but the risks outweigh rewards at the moment. However if the season does go through as planned, we will request the State FA to consider us for the upcoming second division I-League, we were very close to securing a berth through the KPL standings, so we will do everything it takes to make the cut because we have National ambitions."
The reference to 'unpredictability of events' may be to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has put Indian football on hold since February. The Indian national team is expected to return to action in October and the start of ISL & I-League will hopefully be around November; but all of it is contingent on the country successfully gaining control over the spread of the novel coronavirus.
While LSC's absence in I-League is a setback to the fans, the door is still open for them to enter the national league system via the 2nd Division League.
Now that Luca are out of the I-League picture, the chances for Sudeva to bag a coroporate entry slot have become even higher. Meanwhile, more clubs have expressed their interest in the coveted I-League berths; including Ryntih SC who finished third in the Shillong Premier League debut season last year.