The All India Football Federation’s Disciplinary Committee Thursday imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh each to five I-League clubs, including former champions Aizawl FC and Minerva Punjab FC, while East Bengal were told to pay Rs 5 lakh for pulling out of Super Cup in March-April.
Churchill Brothers, Gokulam Kerala FC and Neroca FC were the other three clubs fined Rs 10 lakh each.
The Committee did not give any decision against Mohun Bagan and referred the case for arbitration since the Kolkata side did not sign for participation.
The premier knockout club tournament among I-League and ISL teams was severely depleted this season following the boycott by seven clubs — Minerva Punjab FC, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers, NEROCA FC, Gokulam Kerala FC and Aizawl FC.
“The Committee thus imposed penalty of Rs 10 lakh upon Aizawl FC, Churchill Brothers, Gokulam Kerala FC, Minerva Punjab FC, and NEROCA, each, to be utilised exclusively for benefit and further development of football at grassroot level and towards promotion of youth football in the country through proper transparent modalities with appropriate checks and balances and audit,” the six-page judgment, accessed by PTI here, read.
“In default of payment by any club, the AIFF would be at liberty to consider disqualification of the clubs from participation in its next edition competitions,” it added.
The Disciplinary Committee consisting of Ushanath Banerjee (chairman), Harsh Vora, Adithya Reddy, Prateek Chadda and Dr Madhab Milan Ghosh had heard the rebel clubs on March 27 and 28.
On East Bengal, the Committee observed that the club intended to participate but the sponsors revolted to the decision.
“The club cannot be held guilty of indiscipline or misconduct. It is the sponsors of the club (Quess) who committed so and intended to jeopardise the integrity of the competition.
“Balancing upon the degree of culpability the Committee felt that in order to reduce the humiliation upon East Bengal, quantum of fine should be less than the other clubs and imposed penalty of Rs 5 lakh.”
The clubs revolted against the AIFF and sent a letter on February 18 requesting the president of AIFF to address the various issues, including lack of clarity regarding the future of I-League and lack of an agenda for the game at the grassroots level.
Terming this subversive, the order said: “Sports bodies cannot be hijacked or held under any threat by a group of vested interested persons or the clubs. Neither the president nor any office bearer has any individual power or authority to do so.
“Hence, demanding that unless the ‘President’ of the AIFF meets a particular Group of Clubs, they would not participate in the National Competition that too after entering the Competition and undertaking to ensure faithful compliances of the Regulations of the Competition, is nothing but intending to hold the National Federation under ransom and such subversive conduct cannot be claimed to be ‘bonafide’ and should be dealt with appropriately.”