The Mariners' lawyers presented their case in front of a one-man committee claiming that the club's actions during the Kolkata Derby were under the provision of 'Force Majeure'..Things at Mohun Bagan are not looking up in any way right now. The Kolkata club, who are under the firing line, for not turning up in the second half of the Kolkata Derby, are increasingly likely to face a two year ban from the I-League. A one-man committee comprising of retired Supreme Court judge A.K Ganguly heard the cases presented by lawyers from Mohun Bagan as well as the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
The Mariners' best chance was to invoke the 'Force Majeure' clause of the I-League charter and cited that decreasing security at the ground enforced a sense of fear in the minds of the players who had already seen their teammate Syed Rahim Nabi being carried off the field after he was struck by a missile from the crowd.
|Mohun Bagan were trailing at half-time and they refused to play the second half|
Bagan's counsel also stated that the game was a home match for East Bengal which made them responsible for security arrangements. In addition, the Kolkata club reportedly put forth the argument that the referees appointed to officiate one of the most intense derbies in the world, which had seen a 1,00,000 capacity crowd, were inexperienced. The Bagan legal team felt that some of the decisions taken by the referee incensed the crowd and the ensuing violence resulted in Nabi's injury.
However, Usha Nath Bannerjee, the legal counsel for the AIFF, said that the venue, the Salt Lake Stadium, was neutral for both teams. The teams play their home games at the Salt Lake Stadium as the respective home grounds of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are not approved.
A second lawyer from the AIFF team reportedly stated that had there been a security lapse as Mohun Bagan had claimed, it would have affected both teams. Players from the Red and Gold waited on the pitch for more than 50 minutes after the start of the second half. The legal team showed the judge television footage of the match which allegedly showed that the crowd was under control, nullifying the Mariners' theory that security was compromised at the stadium.
Bagan's actions during the match are a violation of Clause 22 of the AIFF Constitution and risk facing a ban if they are found guilty.
A decision about the fate of Mohun Bagan is expected to be handed out to the AIFF by the judge on December 27 or 28 after which a final call will be taken by the AIFF Disciplinary Committee.
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