I-League clubs distraught as Mohun Bagan’s ban is revoked

Several I-League clubs were taken aback by the Indian FA’s decision to reinstate them back in the I-League this season...

Though the Indian Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA) sent a letter to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) stating that the two-year ban imposed on Mohun Bagan by the I-League Core Committee was a harsh one, not many of them expected the Indian FA to revoke the ban altogether.

Most of the clubs were of the opinion that Mohun Bagan be given a chance to compete in the second division from next season so that they could come back into the I-League from 2014-15 season.

“It’s a mockery of the rules governing the I-league regulations,” a club official told The Herald.

“Nobody expected that the I-League Core Committee’s decision would be summarily turned down in this manner. At the most, one expected it to be reduced to one year as any punishment must be exemplary and act as a deterrent for further violations. The decision looks farcical and gives an impression that it was pre-planned,” he added.

Some of the clubs voiced their dissent on fixture congestion given that they would have to adjust to accommodate the matches against Mohun Bagan.

“When will the Mohun Bagan matches that were postponed after the Kolkata abandonment is played is another big question that AIFF will have to face. The calendar is so tight that certain teams like Churchill Brothers and East Bengal may even have to play during the much-needed break when the two teams prepare for the tough AFC Cup competition, asked another club official.

“The question - will the two teams be able to field their top players or will they have to do with the second string - is certainly going to give lot of headaches to AIFF,” he added.

Former Goa Football Association (GFA) secretary Savio Messias stated that it was a mockery of the rules, something unheard of in the world of football.

“Imposing a meagre fine of Rs 2 crore gives an impression that the AIFF looks like wanting to fill in their coffers. The Executive Committee overruled their own rule and they have no powers to do that, since it was the I-League Core Committee that went by the rule book and invoked the relevant regulation on abandonment of the match by Mohun Bagan. And now, the Executive Committee turns it down, which is neither as per the rule book nor it upholds the spirit of the law,” said Messias. 

“It’s a stupid decision, unheard of in the history of football. Even to arrive at such an irrational decision, there ought to have been some rules or a set of guidelines to arrive at such a conclusion and just not decide on the basis of what one thinks should be done based on sentimental or any other thoughts. If the rules permit the AIFF to take such a decision, then the AIFF is absolutely wrong in stating that it will be probably for the last time that the federation has reduced the quantum of punishment. It certainly is an exceptional decision gifted to Mohun Bagan since the AIFF clearly stated that it is the first and the last in Indian football. Why such a selective treatment that too when it is a matter of upholding discipline,” he further questioned.

“The AIFF is thinking to not allow Air India and ONGC in next year’s I-League in order to fulfil AFC criterion. But have they followed the AFC criterion by revoking the ban of Mohun Bagan in the first place?” questioned another official.

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