Indian FootbaIl: IFA declares Abinash Ruidas contracted to East Bengal, AIFF reprimands ruling

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The winger, picked up by Mumbai City FC in the ISL 2017 draft is now in the midst of a tussle between the state and the central governing bodies...

Earlier on Thursday evening, the governing body for football in West Bengal, the Indian Football Association (IFA) declared that Abinash Ruidas is contracted to East Bengal for two more years after studying the contract papers submitted by the Red and Golds.

However, the move backfired on the century-old institution as the General Secretary of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Kushal Das commanded the IFA to renege on all matters concerning the winger in a stern mail sent later that night.

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Kushal Das termed it 'beyond the authority' of the IFA to adjudicate on the matter especially in the case of it not being a 'local transfer' within the IFA jurisdiction. Das' letter made a reference to Article 3 and Article 38 of the AIFF Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players.

Article 3, clause 2 states, "Any dispute regarding the status of a player involved in an inter-state transfer shall be settled by the AIFF Player's Status Committee."

Chapter XIV, which houses Dispute, Resolution, Disciplinary and Arbitration System, in its Article 38 states, "Without prejudice to the right of any player or club to seek redress before a civil court in disputes between clubs and players, a dispute shall be referred to the Players Status Committee for resolution."

On these grounds, the IFA was reprimanded for its ruling on Ruidas, with the letter stating, "Any decision-making process in the instant subject issue by the ‘Standing Players’ Status Sub-Committee’ of IFA would be erroneous and unsustainable, apart from the same being in breach of the covenants undertaken by IFA as an affiliated State Member of the AIFF."

"In the premises, you are hereby requested not to proceed any further with determining or adjudicating the disputed issue of status, as above, having far reaching consequences and forward all papers and documents forthwith to AIFF so as to enable the AIFF to adjudicate the same in accordance with the law, as expeditiously as possible," the IFA was further directed by the AIFF according to the letter.

Such a turnaround was caused after Ruidas' representatives hired a Mumbai-based law firm, which requested the IFA players status sub-committee to cease its involvement in dealing with the dispute and refer it to the right forum, the AIFF as it never possessed the requisite jurisdiction in the first place.

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IFA Secretary Utpal Ganguli dismissed the letter and went ahead with the decision, magnifying Ruidas' lack of common courtesy as the 22-year-old had failed to show up at the IFA office twice in three days despite repeated summons.

However, upon receipt of the mail from the AIFF, Ganguli ensured that both the letters would be read on Friday and be replied to.

Ruidas complained that East Bengal had forged his signature and gotten away by producing alleged fake contract papers to the IFA. Ganguli revealed that a separate case has been lodged wherein a handwriting expert will assess Ruidas' signature and verify the authenticity.

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