Hyderabad FC owner Varun Tripuraneni: 'Short-term challenges, will bounce back strongly'

Hyderabad FC owner Varun Tripuraneni. Hyderabad FC

Hyderabad FC are in crisis mode, both on and off the field. The club is mired in financial troubles with unpaid salaries leading to staff and player exodus and are currently bottom of the ISL points table with just four points from 15 matches this season and no wins to show.

ESPN spoke to team owner Varun Tripuraneni about the issues. Here are his answers to our questions:

Have the club had any communication with the fans, on what has been a disappointing season on the pitch, first and foremost?

Yes, this has been a disappointing season. We did not expect this after three very good seasons and a Championship in 2022. With the changes, we knew it was going to be a challenging season but we were still confident at the start. There have been a number of challenges off the field which is known and the priority has been to address these major concerns and we are on track. There has been no formal communication to fans yet on all the details though there is interaction at some level or the other. We have a very loyal and supportive fan base and there are constant messages reassuring their support to the club which is just what we need at this time. We thank them for standing by us at this difficult time.

On the departure of the various Indian players from the club towards the end of the window, there was no official communication from the club itself, is there a reason behind it?

We have had challenging times off the pitch for various reasons, financial being the critical one. Again, I would like to assure everyone that resolving this has been our number one priority over the last six months. We have had to let go of players as well due to these reasons. Personally, I was very sad to let them go, but it is what it is. We made every possible effort to keep them but it was beyond our control. With regards to the communication, these are testing times for us and also sensitive issues to speak about and hence we will communicate clearly to all stakeholders at the right time. At this juncture everyone is anxious about the club's plan for the next season and beyond. We hope to share some positive news soon and I am confident we will bounce back strongly.

Does the club have any plans for its operations for next season, given how much uncertainty has been around this one, in terms of even things as basic as the floodlights at the stadium?

I think with some internal issues which I mentioned, we are very close to resolving them and things will be back to normal on the operational front very soon. There is a very strong resolve in the club to ensure we end this season positively ensure and put on a good show once again from the next season. When we first started in 2019-20 our first season, we were in a similar position at the bottom of the table and then we went on to build a club that won the championship. We are very sure we can do this once again.

Things like the floodlights, etc are one among the many things on the operational checklist. I would also like to reiterate that it was us who invested and brought the venue to such good standards, be it the floodlights or the pitch or the changing rooms etc. The investments we have made in the infrastructure thus far have been with a long-term vision and we will continue this journey once we get through these short-term challenges.

There are members of club staff who have left now, and certain players who have left too, whose salary dues haven't yet been cleared. Is there a pathway and a plan yet from the club's side to clear those? On a similar note, the transfer ban that was imposed due to unpaid dues last season, have those dues been paid out?

We are on track to get the payments on track. We are very close to achieving this. There are some members of the staff and players who have left and their interests are equally important as other members of the club from our perspective. The majority as you can see believe in Hyderabad FC and continue to give it their best and the club thanks them for their support in such challenging times.