Shillong, Apr 27: Speculation is rife in Polo Ground that Shillong United FC will not take part in this year’s Shillong Premier League (SPL) and could even disband entirely.
The team, owned by local businessman Dominic Sutnga, have not made any signings during the Shillong Sports Association’s (SSA) transfer window ahead of the 2018 season, leading insiders to fear that the club will not take part in the upcoming edition of the SPL.
Although the junior side had finished a creditable third out of seven teams in the U-18 SPL last year, the senior outfit could only manage sixth place out of eight teams in the SPL proper.
2017 also saw SUFC absorb the erstwhile Royal Wahingdoh FC (which had also been owned by Sutnga) in June and sign a youth development partnership with Indian Super League franchise NorthEast United FC in August.
However, the team have not been able to develop a solid fan following over the years. SUFC are one of the few sides in Shillong not centred on a particular neighbourhood and lack the same weight as those in a similar position – Shillong Lajong FC and Rangdajied United FC, for example.
No official confirmation on the club’s intentions has been made, but if Shillong United do not take part this season it looks like the SPL will be reduced to seven teams, as it is too late to offer the one slot to a direct entry team because the transfer window has already opened, an SSA source said.
(TSR file photo)