The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has directed its 'Players Status Committee' to adjudicate the ongoing contractual dispute between Abinash Ruidas and East Bengal and has stated that the Indian Football Association (IFA) does not have the authority to intervene in this matter, Goal can confirm.
The whole issue arose after Ruidas, who had signed a two-year contract with East Bengal in 2015, stated his intentions to play for an Indian Super League club. However, East Bengal insisted that he was still under contract with them as he had signed for the 2017-18 season as well.
The 21-year-old vehemently denied the claim and maintained that he was forced to sign a blank paper when he had initially signed the two-year-contract and the club had misused the same and forged his signatures.
While Ruidas went on to lodge a complaint with the AIFF, East Bengal approached IFA, West Bengal's state football association. AIFF went on to communicate to all parties that while the contractual dispute is being settled, Ruidas will remain a 'free player' and will be eligible to participate in the ISL Player Draft, where he was picked up by Mumbai City FC.
Subsequently, on 27th July 2017, Mumbai City FC approached East Bengal to obtain the No Objection Certificate (NOC) for Ruidas in order to register the player.
Meanwhile, IFA decided to adjudicate the issue through its Players Status Sub-Committee, discarding AIFF's directive not to interfere in the issue, after maintaining that Ruidas is registered under the IFA and East Bengal was one of its affiliated clubs.
On 28th July 2017, IFA ruled that Ruidas must play for East Bengal as the club is in possession of his 'Token' which is enough to legally register a player. It further said that AIFF cannot interfere in this matter as it was between two affiliated parties of the IFA.
AIFF then proceeded to constitute a Special Committee to ascertain the jurisdiction in the issue as the player was demanding to play for a club outside the state of West Bengal. The committee came to a conclusion that IFA overreached their jurisdiction by claiming that AIFF could not interfere in the issue.
The committee pointed out that AIFF's Constitution and the “AIFF Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players” is binding on all affiliated members, their affiliated units and players. And all of them are under obligations to comply with the regulations.
The committee also ruled that IFA's decision to allow East Bengal to register Ruidas on the grounds that possession of 'Token' provides the club the legal right is erroneous since there was no valid, written, enforceable and binding contract to go with it, terming IFA's actions as 'unreasonable and unjust'.
The committee went on to state that until the contractual dispute is settled, Ruidas will be considered as a 'free player' who has the right to sign for any club.
Here's the Special Committee's final decision on the issue:
1) The decision of the IFA dated 28th July, 2017 cannot be sustained and/or enforced.
2) AIFF is the authority to adjudicate the disputed subject issue in its entirety including the ‘’Status” of the Player and/or whether there exists any valid and binding written contract, and whether there has been mandatory compliance of Articles 4.3 and 5 of the AIFF Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players.
3) As per the AIFF Constitution and AIFF Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players, the “Players Status Committee” of the AIFF is entrusted with exclusive powers to deal with and settle the ‘dispute’ as to the status of the player and his contractual validity.
4) Any other or further decision of the IFA relating to or arising out of the subject issue of Abinash Ruidas, cannot be sustained/enforced.