Shillong, Jul 12: First Division side Rising FC will not take part in this  edition of the Shillong Sports Association’s football season.

The First Division 2019 began today, much to TSR’s surprise as there was no prior intimation to the press, with only nine teams listed in the fixtures. The First Division usually has 10 teams.

When asked about Rising, an SSA official threw up his hands and bluntly said, “They did not want to participate.”

Rising’s situation mirrors somewhat that of Shillong United, which dropped out of the football scene last year.

However, unlike Shillong United, Rising have continued to be active on social media, posting plenty of football-related posts on Facebook.

Rising finished in third place last year, but weren’t too happy about that, as they felt they should’ve been second (and thus in this season’s Shillong Premier League). Rising and Nongrim Hills finished on 19 points each with the former having the better goal difference (+12 compared to +8). However, Nongrim had head-to-head advantage over Rising and the SSA uses head-to-head first when separating teams tied on points.

It seemed likely that Rising weren’t going to feature in the local football season, with 19 of their players moving to other Meghalaya clubs during the recent SSA and Meghalaya Football Association transfer windows and none coming in.

Rising was started in 2016 with huge ambitions announced at its launch function in the presence of a Bollywood actor (though we’ve forgotten his name).

The club aimed to purchase between 10 to 25 acres of land in Ri-Bhoi for a purpose built facility including a 25,000-seat stadium, practice grounds and other infrastructure that would ultimately create a top football academy for up to 90 players, all within three years.

(TSR file photo)

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