Romeo Fernandes and Mandar Rao Dessai, two of India's brightest sparks while playing for the Indian Super League (ISL) franchise FC Goa over the last two seasons, have suddenly found themselves in limbo over participation in the sub-continent, after having themselves suspended by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for infringement of its rules with respect to attending the national camp organized before South Asian Football Federation's (SAFF).
Goal had first reported the matter whicht arose in the immediate aftermath of the ISL final, which FC Goa lost to Chennaiyin FC, in Goa. The duo were ordered to present themselves to the national team's training camp, in Kerala. However, having allegedly injured themselves in the game, neither Fernandes nor Dessai were in position to take the flight south. To this effect, FC Goa ratified their status and even asked an AIFF appointed doctor to examine the players in Goa.
The AIFF mandated that neither player be registered for the second division of the I-League by their contracted club Dempo SC, as the issue would be deiberated upon by the AIFF's disciplinary committee. However, a trio of meetings later, the adjudicators still haven't passed judgement on the issue. Even the Goa Football Association (GFA) who wanted to avail of the footballers services during the ongoing Santosh Trophy tournament in Nagpur, were asked to exclude the pair.
"The disciplinary committee wanted to hear from the players in person. They want to understand (from the players) why they could not make it," revealed Kushal Das, general secretary of the AIFF, to The Times of India.
Now, the governing body of Indian football itself seems to have "forgotten" to issue a notice to the players responsible, in a major gaffe that has stalled the matter so far.
"More than two months have passed since the suspension and the AIFF must answer why a decision has not been taken as yet. "The show cause notice was issued on December 23 and a reply was sent (by Dempo SC) immediately. Then on January 25, another show cause notice was issued, despite receiving the previous reply. And even though the disciplinary committee has met three times since then, Romeo and Mandar still don't know when their suspension will be revoked," criticised a source, close to the AIFF.
The Dempo pair now await the date of their hearing to elucidate matters and possibly end the deadlock.