The 27-year old Mohun Bagan midfielder expressed his disappointment over the 2-year ban imposed on his club as he recuperates from the injury sustained during the Kolkata DerbyThe ban that was slapped on Mohun Bagan, that prohibits them from taking part in the I-League for two seasons, has been a shocker of a decision for many fans and an expected one alike. The Mariners were found guilty of violating Clause 22 in the I-League charter after they refused to take the field during the second half of the Kolkata Derby played on December 9, 2012.
The match which saw incidents of violence from the crowd resulted in Bagan midfielder Syed Rahim Nabi being injured after he was struck by a missile. The 27-year old, who was voted All India Football Federation (AIFF) Player Of The Year, expressed his views through an emotional letter, after the decision to ban Mohun Bagan was taken by the AIFF Executive Committee.
"Like many football fans, I'm deeply saddened by Mohun bagan's suspension. I feel my injury was somewhat responsible for Mohun Bagan not fielding the team in the second half. Mohun Bagan was compelled to take such an action keeping in mind the interest of football and football lovers. Had the game gone on, the players or the fans might have faced even more serious injuries. I completely support the decision and I feel had I died that day, the national club might not have faced such a verdict," said Nabi.
|"Had I died that day, the national club might not have faced such a verdict"- Syed Nabi|
Nabi also revealed that, had the missile that was thrown at him, struck him anywhere else, it could have been fatal. "I'm saying this with deep sadness that had I died, the football might not have been taken away from the feet of my colleagues. So I do not know how to get over this whole situation of not playing in the league. So I want to know would my death have saved Mohun Bagan, the national club, of such a fate??" the 2012 AIFF Player Of The Year was quoted saying.
The AIFF had appointed a one-man committee consisting of retired Supreme Court judge A.K Ganguly to help decide whether the Mariners' actions during the Derby were a case of 'Force Majeure' or not. The judge ruled in favour of the AIFF who showed evidence to contradict Bagan's case that security at the Salt Lake Stadium was compromised after Nabi was injured.
Nabi's emotional letter is being seen as Bagan's first step towards an appeal for review of the ban before the AIFF Executive Committee. Using Nabi to prepare the ground for the appeal makes sense because the midfielder is not only a Team India regular but was recently received the AIFF Player of the Year award. Bagan are therefore likely to enclose Nabi's letter along with their formal appeal to the AIFF.
Mohun Bagan officials are hoping that federation supremo Praful Patel will take a more sympathetic view of the issue. Under AIFF rules, the President has the power to review or revise any decision under extraordinary circumstances.
Patel had skipped the I-League committee meeting in Delhi on Saturday, but it is unlikely that he was kept out of the loop. A section of the AIFF are confident that there will be no change in the federation's decision. They argued that the AIFF would be made to look silly if it suddenly softens its stand after taking the trouble to arrange legal counsel to validate the decision to ban Mohun Bagan.The Mohun Bagan officials have claimed on several occasions over the last few days that they will approach higher authorities in case the verdict goes against them.
"If they approach FIFA, I don’t think FIFA will take the matter into its own hands. They never go against the rules of any member association," said AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das to in an interview with Goal.com
"This decision was important to send the message that I-League is a serious product. We are heading towards professionalism and these steps are important," Das had added.
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