I-League 2018-19: Ranjit Bajaj's Minerva Punjab fined Rs 20K by AIFF for not providing bedsheets
Minerva Punjab have been fined Rs 20,000 by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for failing to provide bedsheets and fresh linen in the medical room before the I-League match against Indian Arrows in December.
This could be one of the most ridiculous sanctions handed out to a club by the AIFF.
Minerva hosted the Arrows, the developmental side of the AIFF, on December 1, 2018, at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula.
And according to the Match Commissioner, "the medical room was not set up till one hour from the kickoff, the medical room only had the beds and that too without the linen and later on, they had linens on the bed."
The sanction was subsequently handed out on December 19 to the club.
The club's director, Ranjit Bajaj, feels the AIFF are deploying scare tactics to silence him from speaking against the federation and the organisers of the Indian Super League, Football Sports Development Limited.
Bajaj recently headed a meeting of the I-League Private Clubs Associaton in Kolkata, asking for all I-League matches to be telecast on Star. The association threatened to move the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and the sport's governing body FIFA if their demands are not met.
"I knew I was going to be fined and there is more to come as well. This is just the beginning of their attempt to silence me," Bajaj said.
When asked why there were no bedsheets and linen at the medical room, Bajaj said: "The fresh bedsheets were folded and kept after a delay. The medical room was ready 16 minutes before the match. The staff who use the medical room were anyway setting up the ambulance and other equipment before the match and they would use the room only at half-time."
Furthermore, the club was fined Rs 40,000 for permitting a photographer without an accreditation enter the field of play and click pictures. The total sanction on the club from the match amounts to Rs 60,000.
The AIFF also warned the club about its pre-match rituals. Minerva, the defending champions, could be fined in the future if they delay the start of the pre-match press conference. They have also been asked to restrict the movement of the ball-boys in the field of play after the game.
Philip Njoku scored the lone goal of the game as Minerva beat Arrows 1-0. However, the club has not enjoyed the best of form in recent times. They are lodged at the seventh position on the table with 13 points in 11 games, 11 behind leaders Chennai City FC.