The All India Football Federation have revoked the two-year I-League ban imposed on Mohun Bagan for refusing to field their team in the second half against East Bengal on December 9. AIFF’s executive committee met on Tuesday in New Delhi and decided to revoke the suspension citing Mohun Bagan’s history, tradition and enormous fanbase.
However East Bengal have been awarded a 3-0 win from that December 9 match while Mohun Bagan have been deducted 12 points, the tally they had after nine games prior to that clash against their arch rivals.
Therefore the results against Mohun Bagan before their match against East Bengal stands valid and Mohun Bagan’s new league tally now reads 0 points from 10 matches. They will thus get to play all their remaining 16 matches.
Additionally Mohun Bagan will also have to pay a fine of Rs 2 crore and undertake a bond with the AIFF that they will not breach any code of conduct in the future. This has to be done in the next 3-4 days for Bagan to resume their I-League campaign.
The executive committee also imposed a one-year ban on Mohun Bagan officials from being part of any federation committee. While the indiscipline of Odafa Okolie in that December 9 match has been referred to the disciplinary committee and it was learnt that he could face a lengthy ban.
Because of the points deduction Mohun Bagan will have a real challenge in their hands to avoid the drop but it is still unclear whether there will be any relegation this season as AIFF president Praful Patel confirmed that they will be inviting new bids for two clubs to enter directly into the I-League. The new clubs will have to give several assurances, especially infrastructure, as they will be expected to have their own stadium.
As a result Air India and ONGC could be removed from the I-League next season because they have failed to meet the AFC licensing criterion even though the deadline was extended twice.
However the AIFF will play the waiting game in this regard, although Patel confirmed that the two new clubs will be confirmed by the end of March and the possibility of two more such teams also remains which means that the I-League could have either 14 or 16 teams next season.Published 15 Jan 2013, 15:50 IST