A host of Goan footballers heaved a major sigh of relief on Friday evening as the Goa Football Association (GFA) lifted bans of 46 players - which they had slapped a fortnight ago- after the professionals registered an unconditional apology.
Well-known players including the likes of Romeo Fernandes, Brandon Fernandes, Keenan Almeida, Adil Khan and Victorino Fernandes were suspended by the governing body after taking part in an unathourized tournament in Cuncolim last month.
"It's quite surprising that ISL and I-League players have been involved in such tournaments. Romeo and Keenan are among the 40-odd footballers we will issue the show-cause notice," GFA President Elvis Gomes had said about the incident.
"We have evidence against these players and so we have to take action against them. The rules are uniform for all. We can't bend the rules for some," he had made it clear.
His organization then walked the talk by suspending all the footballers. Even though the players were frustrated with the move by GFA, they decided to not up the ante further and came out with an unconditional apology which worked in their favour ultimately.
"The Executive Committee of the GFA which met today under the Chairmanship of the [sic] President Elvis Gomes considered the unconditional apology offered by the 46 senior players who are donning colours for various top clubs in the state for having played in unregistered tournaments and lifted the suspension of these players by levying a penalty of Rs 5,000/- each,” a press release circulated by the GFA read.
"With the transfer window open and the confusion about ISL and I-League going on, we already have too much on our plate. It's great to hear that good sense has finally prevailed," one of the footballers told Goal on Saturday morning.
LIST OF PLAYERS: Romeo Fernandes, Gabriel Fernandes, Brandon Fernandes, Keenan Almeida, Joshua Vaz, Kingslee Fernandes, Anthony D'Souza, Agnelo Colaco, Seriton Fernandes, Victorino Fernandes, Joaquim Abranches, Samir Naik, Velito Cruz, Don Bosco Fernandes, Joaquim Carvalho, Jovel Martins, Mauvin Borges, Thapa, Clencio Pinto, Suraj Hadkonkar, Franzil Negredo, Micky Fernandes, Richard Costa, Nicholas Fernandes, Alesh Sawant, Joy Ferrao, Melwin Lobo, Jessel Carneiro, Peter Carvalho, Latesh Mandrekar, Lenny Pereira, Brian Mascarenhas, Leander D'Cunha, Marcus Mascarenhas, Mario Mascarenhas, Aaren D'Silva, Melroy Fernandes, Bruno Colaco, Nicolau Colaco, Cajetan Fernandes, Glan Martins, Raju Haldankar, Aniston Fernandes, Jyotesh Palkar, Tyson Caiado, Adil Khan.