With the I-League kick-off just days away, Vasco SC have decided to take the legal route in order to bring themselves justice as they have filed a suit against the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Shillong Lajong looking to seal their berth in the I-League as second division champions.
The bone of contention being that the Indian FA acknowledged that the north eastern club had fielded an ineligible player in Seikhohao Tuboi, which Goal.com had exclusively revealed, and suspended him thereafter after he had already played four matches in the crucial final rounds of the second division I-League.
The player was apparently registered with at least three state associations, namely Meghalaya, West Bengal and Manipur, and hence as per the ruled fitted under the term ‘ineligible.’
In the Art IV of the Second Division I-League regulations, point 3 states,” Any team refusing to play or does not turn up for the match at the scheduled time or refuses to start or complete a match or fields an ineligible player shall be scratched from the competition. The match shall be forfeited and the opponents present at the venue shall be declared winners by a three (3)-goal difference and three (3) points shall be awarded to them. If the goal difference was higher at the time the match was abandoned for the team’s refusal to continue to play, that goal difference shall remain. The team may be further penalised by the AIFF Disciplinary Committee.”
The Indian FA called for a Players Status Committee meeting who declared that Tuboi was indeed the guilty party and not the club which was further ratified by the AIFF Executive Committee.
AIFF Being Dragged To Court
Former Indian skipper Bhaichung Bhutia criticized the decision and questioned as to why only the player was targeted and not the state associations and the clubs involved as doing the paperwork isn’t the player’s prerogative.
“Tuboi is one of the greatest talents in Indian football and he has been made a scapegoat and suspended.
“If action needs to be taken it must be against all the parties involved, why only the player has to suffer? You mean to say that the Meghalaya Football Association or Shillong Lajong weren’t aware that their player was playing for another club?," he told Goal.com.
It is learnt that thereafter Vasco had opted for arbitration to which the Indian FA allegedly replied with an opinion of a certain high profile advocate that the Goan club didn’t stand a chance for mediation.
The Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) in Vasco sent out a notice to Shillong Lajong, the AIFF and the Goa Football Association (GFA), who are being “summoned to appear in this Court in person, or by a pleader duly Instructed, and able to answer all material questions relating to the suit, or who shall be accompanied by some person able to answer all such questions, on the day of 20th day of October, 2011 at 10.00 a.m. to answer the claim to answer the claim; and further you are hereby directed to file within 30 days from the receipt of this summons a written statement of your .defence.”
It further adds that if the concerned parties fail to turn on the said date, they would lose their right to defend their case.
“Also take notice in default of your filing an address for service on or before the date mentioned you are liable to have your defence struck off,” the letter signed by the Superintendent stated.
While the AIFF top brass stated that they would take the "appropriate measures," Shillong Lajong preferred to remain mum on the issue for now.
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