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Dempo respond to Climax Lawrence’s ban; appeal to AIFF to revoke decision

I-League champions Dempo have responded to the AIFF’s decision of handing Climax Lawrence a two-match ban because of his involvement in the Dempo players’ charge towards referee Ajit Meitei in their game against East Bengal in Kolkata on November 3.

Coach Armando Colaco, who is also the general secretary of the club, explained the reasons why Climax doesn’t deserve such a suspension and questioned the delay in making the decision as he was handed the ban more than two weeks after the match.

In the letter, Armando questioned why the AIFF took such a decision without a meeting of the disciplinary committee.

“To the best of our knowledge, no meeting of the AIFF Disciplinary Committee was held, leading us inescapably to the conclusion that any suspension or disciplinary order/ decision taken by any other authority are null, void, baseless and groundless.

“In the current situation, we would appeal to you to dispel these impressions, allow wisdom, fairness, as well as the letter and spirit of law to prevail by revoking the suspension on Climax Lawrence urgently,” he said in the letter.

Dempo’s Ryuiji Sueoka, who was booked in the game for a dive although he was clearly fouled by East Bengal’s Saumik Dey, was also warned for sarcastically applauding the referee. Armando questioned why no action was taken against East Bengal duo Uga Okpara and Penn Orji for trying to intimidate the referee.

“We feel entitled to ask why two players of East Bengal – Uga Okapara and Penn Orji – were not similarly disciplined at the match in question for the same so-called offence based on the same so-called evidence, specifically towards the end of the match, when the referee was aggressively confronted over why a red card was not shown to our player,” he said.

Armando also mentioned other instances of players attacking the referee in the I-League but were not punished for the same.

“Towards the end of the match between Pune FC and Churchill Brothers, disgruntled players of the former pugnaciously accosted the match referee (over a penalty awarded to Churchill which proved crucial to the match result) following which the referee had to be cordoned off for his safety, a fact on clear display in the match video footage. In our match against Churchill, a similar refereeing decision against our opponents led some of their players like Beto and Steven Dias to confront the referee menacingly.

“The abusive and threatening behaviour of United Sikkim FC player and coach Bhaichung Bhutia in their match against us, where he showed verbal violence and physical aggression in the form of the ball being flung at the referee, attracted a mere show cause notice but no suspension,” he added.

Dempo also requested the video evidence and the referee’s report based on which Climax was banned and ended the letter by reminding about their right of seeking legal help in case they don’t get a fair response from the AIFF.

“Please be reminded that we reserve the right, in the absence of a fair, reasoned response from you, to resort to action under the AIFF clauses relating to arbitration, by turning your erroneous and unauthorised decision taken to suspend our player into a dispute requiring arbitration as provided for in the regulations.”

AIFF are yet to respond to the letter.

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