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Mohun Bagan have suspended Bhaichung Bhutia for a period of six months for neglecting the club duties but this is not it, as the player can take the matter to the Players’ Status Committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) by routing his request through the Indian Football Association, which is the state football association of West Bengal.

The decision was taken by the Mohun Bagan Executive Committee which met on Monday and unanimously came out with the above decision.

The Mariners had earlier show caused Bhaichung questioning his commitment and distributed copies of the same amongst the scribes. The club had asked the Indian skipper to reply within 48 hours, which he failed to do and in the eventual letter which came from Bhaichung, Mohun Bagan weren’t satisfied with the contents.

“We are not at all satisfied with Bhaichung’s reply. It has nothing to do with what we’d asked him in the show-cause notice,” said Bagan vice-president Subrata Mukherjee.

According to the club, Bhaichung hadn’t sought permission from his employers as to whether he would like to join the dance reality show. Interestingly, on several occasions, Bagan officials and Coach Karim Bencherifa have gone on record showing their support for Bhaichung’s commitment to the reality show. But whether Bhaichung has a written letter of having being granted the permission isn’t known.

Meanwhile, the club vice-president stated that Bhaichung wouldn’t be barred from appearing for the national team during the six month suspension.

Opinion regarding this decision of Mohun Bagan has been divided. While, some believe that Bagan are right and have played their cards right in suspending Bhaichung, others feel that the Sikkimese Sniper could get away with it.

It is believed that Mohun Bagan have the right to suspend their player for breach of disciplinary rules and defying the club’s standards. Like in every contract, there are certain clauses which states that the club could suspend if the player does XYZ and it seems that Bagan have gone by the rule book.

However, a player cannot be barred from playing until he is found guilty of a drug-related or a criminal offence. Bhaichung would have to convince the Players’ Status Committee regarding this and prove that he had, indeed, sought the permission of Bagan before joining the reality show.

While Bhaichung had been given the permission, it was done so under various agreed terms such as not missing the training sessions; which wasn’t fulfilled by the Bagan skipper.

Bhaichung Bhutia is in the north-eastern region of India and wasn’t available for comments.        

Rahul Bali.

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