Mohun Bagan come out defiant after an emergency club meeting

After the Sunday derby debacle, a special emergency meeting of the Executive Committee of the Mohun Bagan resulted in the club taking a defiant stand and blaming East Bengal...
Mohun Bagan Executive Committee meeting convened to come out with their version of events, after the derby debacle on Sunday which saw them abandon the match after half time, citing security concerns.

Trouble started when Odafa Okolie was sent-off by referee Vishnu Chauhan for misbehaving and that didn't go down well with the assembled crowd who began to lodge their protest by pelting stones on the field of play; one of which incidentally struck Mohun Bagan's Syed Rahim Nabi on the face. The India international had to be rushed to the hospital as he was bleeding profusely.

Chairman of the meeting, Geetanath Ganguly came out to explain the causes for walking out, and supporting club secretary Anjan Mitra's decision to abandon the match midway wholeheartedly.

"At the time of match, on account of security reasons, we were compelled to withdraw from the match and the decision by Secretary Anjan Mitra is ratified."

He also blamed Sunando Dhar, the I-League CEO, for misinterpreting the rules at the post-match press conference where he said that if Mohun Bagan were found guilty of breaching Article 22 of I-League rules, they could be banned for the current season and 2 more subsequent ones.

"We believe the way Sunando Dhar spoke is not well versed with the rules and it is unfortunate. We have allowed Anjan Mitra to go ahead meet lawyers, go to FIFA and do all the needful."

For more information refer to our article on this issue...

Disastrous Derby: How poor refereeing, unruly crowd and lax security wrecked a good half of football

Meanwhile Club secretary, Anjan Mitra blamed East Bengal, who were the 'host team' for the match for the derby debacle, and blamed the injury to the Mariners' player on them.

"We demand compensation for Syed Rahim Nabi until he comes back onto the field."

Ganguly added to this by citing All India Football Federation (AIFF) rules that a host team is responsible for security of the players of both teams.

"Nabi is injured, the safety and security was at stake. East Bengal was host team and under the rules, ticket distribution is their responsibility.Also if a player is injured, they are liable to be suspended. These are AIFF rules. We adopt rules of AIFF, which is part of FIFA."

Mitra further spoke on this issue, citing proof that only 25 Mohun Bagan supporters had 'officially' gone to see the match.

"Only 25 tickets were allotted to us. Those showing their member cards should be allowed with a letter but that was also disallowed. Hence there is proof that just 25 Mohun Bagan supporters went. So the responsibility for the incident is on East Bengal," Mitra pointed.

As for any further action from the club, Mitra confirmed that they had given their version of events in a letter to the AIFF, and said that they had full faith in the apex body's decision making but if need be, they were ready to approach higher bodies.

"We have full faith on AIFF's decision. But if we are aggrieved by their decision, we will go to Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and subsequently to FIFA. We are not taking any steps now. We are giving a letter with what happened to AIFF. If needed we will represent ourselves to take necessary steps."

Mohun Bagan secretary meanwhile added that they would approach their upcoming matches as scheduled.

"Until the result (AIFF's decision) is out, we will go about matches as per schedule. Next is on the 15th (against Pailan Arrows), we will go and play in that match as per our schedule."

Mitra did not speak about the role of the Match Commissioner but said that for him and the club, players' security is the pre-eminent issue, and everything else in secondary.

"I will not speak about the Match Commissioner, I speak about East Bengal and security given to players. Refusal to play comes later, first comes security and our player was injured. We gave an official letter on spot saying we could not continue under this circumstance."

"No one came to give us security. There were riots during half time. Such was the law and order situation that even the Police Commissioner was injured."

Ganguly further elaborated on the reasons why they did not come out after half time.

"The players were traumatized. For senses to function, you need five-to-ten minutes of time. We played for a bit to complete the half as we wanted to continue the match."

Srinjoy Bose, assistant secretary of Mohun Bagan club, said that they wanted to play on, but the declining law and order situation in the stadium forced them to take a decision to abandon the second half proceedings.

"We didn't stop the game after getting a red card. Trauma takes time to set in. Then supporters got to know that Nabi was going through a brain scan at the hospital. No one gave us a guarantee that there would be no violence after this. We substituted a player for a minute, we we had the intention to play. At half time, the players said our mind is no more in the game."

He added that while they do not blame East Bengal directly for the injury suffered by their player, being the organizers they should be held accountable.

"We are not saying East Bengal, but being the organizer, they should have provided security. It is their issue."

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