KERALA BLASTERS HAVE decided to temporarily shut down their women's team, after being fined by AIFF for walking out during a match.
The club recently lost its appeal to reduce the Rs 4 crore penalty.
The decision to close the women's team was taken to deal with the financial burden of the fine, KBFC said in an official statement earlier today,
"It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the temporary pause of our Women’s Team. This decision has been necessitated by the recent financial sanctions imposed on our club by the football federation. While we respect the authority and decisions of the federation, we cannot deny our disappointment at the impact it is likely to have across various functions of our Club.
After a very encouraging first season that saw our women’s team achieve tremendous results, this year the Club had plans for increased investments for our women’s team. These investments included a first-of-a-kind foreign pre-season tour accompanying our Men’s Team, player exchanges, exposure tours, and so much more. However, the financial sanctions have presented us with an unfortunate challenge. As a Club, we must prioritize the more immediate objectives and long-term financial stability.
We deeply regret that we cannot continue our women’s team activities until such time that there is complete clarity on the matter. The decision to pause their activities was made after careful consideration and evaluation of the current circumstances. Not to mention, the Club is still awaiting further sanctions from the league body as well that are only likely to augment the financial impact on the Club.
It is important to highlight that this pause is temporary. We will reinstate our Women’s Team upon closure of this matter in its entirety.
To our incredible women’s team members, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for the dedication, resilience, and talent you have displayed throughout your time with us. You have been an inspiration to us all, and we are committed to supporting you individually in any way we can during this pause.
To our loyal supporters, we understand your disappointment, and we share your frustration. Your unwavering support for our women’s team has been phenomenal, and we assure you that we will be back.
We firmly believe that the future holds brighter prospects for our women’s team. The pause we are currently facing is just a temporary setback, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to fostering equality, inclusivity, and opportunities for all athletes.
Thank you for your understanding, and we appreciate your continued support during these challenging times."
The decision did not, however, resonate with their fans and those who are active in Indian football in various capacities. Soon after their initial announcement, there was an outpouring of disappointment and criticism on social media.
The KBFC women's team was established in 2022, and on their inaugural season at the Kerala Women's League they finished 3rd; losing out on a spot in the final to Lords FA by goal difference. The team's performance was praised all around, and they were seen as a possible second powerhouse in Kerala women's football that would soon make its presence felt in the Indian Women's League and challenge their arch rivals Gokulam Kerala FC's supremacy.
However, that potential future is now on an indefinite hold that the fans would hope to be resolved soon.