Churchill appeal I-League axing decision

The former I-League champions are hopeful of overruling the ban imposed by the governing body, blame callous and biased inspection for being banned

Goan football favourites Churchill Brothers, have decided to appeal the decision of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to ban them from competing in the national League on account of non-fulfilment of licensing criteria as specified by Indian football’s governing body.

Sunando Dhar, the I-League CEO, has elucidated that all the clubs who had been banned by the AIFF ruling have submitted opinions on Thursday. The appealers include Rangdajied United and United SC.

"We have still not received Mohammedan Sporting's letter. I have spoken to the club officials who have told me they have sent the letter via courier and it is expected to reach us late evening," explained Dhar, to The Herald.

The Licensing Body's Appeals Committee is expected to convene on 3rd June convey the final decision after considering the appeals.

The AIFF had recently cancelled the licenses of Mohammedan Sporting, Churchill Brothers, Rangdajied United and United SC thereby preventing their participation in the league for the next year as they had failed to conform with some of the rules and requirements as specified by the AIFF  club licensing criteria.

The men responsible for deciding the fate of these clubs are Justice NK Sud, former justice in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Neel Ratan, Head PWC PVT limited, Sanjiv Paul, Managing Director, Tata Metaliks Limited who are all part of the appeals committee.

Another member Debabrata Mukherjee, VP, Coca Cola India, will be unavailable on the said date.

Churchill had failed the licensing regulations with respect to finance, youth development and personnel. If reports are to be believed, Churchill fulfilled just 13 of the 42 mandatory criterion. The AIFF does not adhere to renewing licenses of clubs that donor fulfil all the points.

The Red Machines have previously claimed that biased inspection had led to incorrect facts about the youth development teams which lead them to believe the inspection hadn't been done aptly. There had also blamed the AIFF for not carefully inspecting numerous other documents regarding the rejection of their license.

Churchill will win their appeal if they produce the required documents and meet the required financial criteria, considered the most vital of all points.

Until then, the current Federation Cup champions and their players wait in anxious anticiation as the sudden axing of the club has lead to a flurry of worry regarding players' I-League careers.