The Mariners have been in the lurch for refusing to play the second half of the Kolkata Derby on December 9, 2012...
It was later decided by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) that a one-man committee would be formed which consisted of a retired High Court or Supreme Court judge to determine whether the actions of Mohun Bagan during the Derby fall under the category of 'Force Majeure' in the I-League charter.
If found guilty, Mohun Bagan could be banned from participation in the I-League for two seasons, which would be a major hit on the virtually unknown I-League which comes to life whenever East Bengal play Mohun Bagan.
|The Kolkata Derby is the marquee fixture of an I-League season|
Justice A.K Ganguly, who is the one-man committee appointed by the AIFF, stated that he would evaluate all aspects of the abandoned Derby. "Both parties presented their case. We also looked into the video footage of the match. I have to look into all angles of the case," said Ganguly.
Mohun Bagan, who were represented by a team of three lawyers along with general secretary Anjan Mitra and director Debasish Dutta, were asked to present their case first in the hearing that took place at a five-star hotel in Kolkata on December 24, 2012.
They reportedly based their argument based on the provision of 'Force Majeure' stated in the I-League regulations, by claiming that conditions at the Salt Lake Stadium on matchday were not good enough to continue the match in the second half.
"Mohun Bagan’s counsel even said the team was ready to play a replay of the tie which they refused to continue in the second half while trailing by a solitary goal," said a source to The Telegraph. "They even showed video evidences to back their claims," the source added.
The Mariners' legal team also said the team did not come out of the dressing room in the second half because the footballers were scared to do so. The club officials, too, were not confident about the safety of the players.
The AIFF, represented by lawyer Usha Nath Bannerjee , argued that the issue of 'Force Majuere' cannot be implemented in this particular case, as there was hardly any law and order problem in the second half.
"The hearing is over and Ganguly will take a day or two before coming out with a verdict. Both sides have presented their cases for over five-hours," said I-League Chief Executive Sunando Dhar.
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