AIFF set to impose sanctions on rebel I-League clubs for boycotting Super Cup
Written by: Atrayo Bhattacharya
Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are the most high profile names in the list of dissenting clubs.
According to recent reports, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is likely to impose sanctions on the rebel I-League clubs for withdrawing from the Super Cup this season.
AIFF sources told The Hindu that a “strong case is being built up” against the seven I-League clubs — Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Churchill Brothers, Aizawl FC, Minerva FC, Gokulam Kerala FC and NEROCA FC— for withdrawing from the Super Cup.
The seven I-League clubs withdrew themselves from the knockout tournament after their grievances were overlooked by the Indian FA, as they cited unfair treatment.
However, in March, AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das reverted back to the I-League alliance assuring a meeting with AIFF President Praful Patel in mid-April, though he denied the chance of rescheduling the qualifiers again. He claimed it to be against the rules of the tournament and point out that it would also be unfair for the teams that turned up on the day.
Hence, things went from bad to worse, as the alliance remained together and wanted to feature in the tournament only if it started from scratch. Their wish was not met and subsequently the other clubs supported the alliance in withdrawing themselves from the tournament.
Amidst all of this, the AIFF has incurred severe losses due to lack of engagement from the clubs and it is believed that the Executive Committee will take strong action against the clubs, following their meeting on April 13.
As per tournament rules, pulling out after the start of the tournament is liable for a fine and further action including disqualification from the next edition of the competition. As both the Article 10.4.3 and 10.4.4 pertain to the above matter and the consequences that the clubs may face in the coming week.
Article 10.4.3 states that the if a particular club withdraws from the tournament after its commencement, then it shall be required to pay a compensation fee for any or all damage or losses suffered by the Federation or the broadcaster, participating clubs, licensees and the concerned Member Association. Whereas Article 10.4.4 adds to this by stating that a club can "be disqualified from taking part in the next edition of the competition following the one from which it withdrew. The AIFF Executive Committee may extend the suspension depending on the gravity of the situation and/or impose further damages as deemed appropriate by it."
Aizawl, Minerva and Gokulam did not turn up for their qualifiers, but as per the rules, they may just have saved themselves from sanctions. However, Mohun Bagan did not register their team for the tournament and might escape with low to moderate punishments. Meanewhile, the likes of East Bengal, Churchill Brothers and NEROCA, who pulled out of the tournament in the main stage without any prior notice may face the wrath of the AIFF to the fullest.
The only I-League clubs to participate in the knockout tournament were Indian Arrows, Chennai City and Real Kashmir. The Arrows defeated Kerala Blasters in the qualifiers, before losing against FC Goa in the Round of 16. Wherea Kashmir lost 3-1 against their Indian Super League counterparts, ATK. I-League champions Chennai City are the only I-League representative left after they defeated FC Pune City 4-2 and fixed an encounter with ISL champions Bengaluru FC in the next round.
Published: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:54 AM IST