Fanview: Who was responsible for the fracas during the Kolkata derby?

With the club officials of the two clubs involved in a blame game, asks the fans of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal about their views on the issue...

The heated arguments surrounding the mayhem in the suspended Kolkata derby continue unabated, as the officials of both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan involve themselves in reciprocal mudslinging. The sufferers of this mis-management, though were the fans who visited the stadium. spoke to a few of them from both camps.

Sayantan Ghosh (East Bengal):- Mohun Bagan devised a ‘clever’ strategy to escape a rout, a humiliation, only to find they’ve been humiliated more by not taking to the field; It is an absolute coward of a football club, managed by equally incompetent people and deserve at least an ouster from this year of the tournament and relegation to the lower tier. Hooliganism does happen in all kind of derbies across the world. Look at the Boca Juniors versus River Plate match as example; we don’t hear about matches being stopped altogether due to crowd trouble in such leagues.

Parthasarathi Ghatak (East Bengal):- Mohun Bagan officials should be held responsible for not completing the match. The real reason for Mohun Bagan not playing is that the officials were scared about the backlash in case of a defeat by a huge margin. Nabi was hit by the Mariners supporters and the organizers are no way responsible for that. With their team a man and a goal down, we were on the doorway of victory. All I need now is three points. Similar things have also happened in Manchester derby, but play was never stopped.

The frustration of Mohun Bagan fans is understandable...

Anirban Sen (East Bengal fan):- There were almost a hundred thousand spectators, most of whom had travelled a long way to be a part of this football extravaganza. The frustration of the Mohun Bagan fans is quite understandable, but throwing missiles to the ground is a step too far. The police presence was inadequate in the stands and East Bengal, the organizers can be held responsible only to a certain extent. The fact that Nabi was hit by a stone hurled by Mohun Bagan supporters only adds to the fact that only some supporters of Mohun Bagan should be held for hooliganism. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) should also fine the East Bengal club a little amount for the loopholes in organization.

Sampad Chatterjee (East Bengal fan):- None of the teams are responsible for the fiasco. It’s the system that should be changed. The system allows the fans to enter the stadiums with empty liquor bottles, crackers and missiles. I don’t think the match could have been completed since there were chances that our players would have also gone injured. But the whole incident only damaged the face of Indian football before the world. There should be enough security in the grounds to handle the pandemonium. Though, I personally think that if one or two unruly supporters among the 110 thousand crowd want to create nuisance, they can never be stopped. But it should also be assured that they are detained and the situation can be taken under control as soon as possible.

The organization was amateurish all around...

Souvik Roychowdhury (Mohun Bagan fan):- Starting from security arrangements to the refereeing, everything lacked professionalism.  The organization was amateurish all around. Blame starts from up top and ends with the players and the fans. The match should have been stopped by the referee himself as another controversy would have resulted in more missiles being launched, with East Bengal players defending the goal towards the side where MB supporters were situated and vice versa. Player's safety is paramount. What if the referee was injured in that incident? Its sad that one of the teams had to forfeit it due to such unruly behaviour and arrangement.If the match was to continue, the stands should have been cleared.

Agnimitra Dasgupta (Mohun Bagan fan) :-  We, the supporters of Mohun Bagan have always boasted that our club is the “National Club” of India. It was very inappropriate for a national club to leave the ground, however adverse the situation is. It is very unfortunate that Nabi got injured, but his teammates should have fought on for the sake of the wounded soldier. Leaving the fight halfway only made us look like cowards. The current club officials have continuously proved to be inefficient, this incident only being another example. Still I believe that AIFF should not take any harsh decision against Mohun Bagan as that would simply kill Indian Football and its best rivalry. I though will be very happy if the officials get banned for life from the club.

A black day for Indian football...

Sayan Roy (Mohun Bagan fan):- It was a terrible shame for Indian football, both on and off the pitch. How could the match be organized in a place where bricks and concrete pieces were freely available? How could we expect further violence to not occur when the police were also seen pelting stones back into the stands?
Speaking of the technical issues, the referee selection should be looked into. The officials also made a mockery of themselves by making baseless punitive statements.

Avishek Chatterjee (Mohun Bagan fan):- The match will go down in the history as a colossal failure in organization by the East Bengal club. When our club had organized the derby last year, we had private security firms to look after any kind of problems that may appear. East Bengal only took help of the government forces and the match ended in a riot. The police personnel were watching the match instead of keeping a close eye on the jam-packed gallery. Spectators went inside with missiles, threw stones on the ground without any hindrance. Continuing the match would have been very imprudent as the players didn’t have enough security to finish the match. Who would have taken the responsibility if any disaster had occurred?

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