What's the story?
The drama is generally never-ending in a derby match between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, and the situation was no different when the two sides met in in the month of September.
The match included a heated moment when referee Ranjit Bakshi awarded a penalty to East Bengal, to which the Mohun Bagan players and staff violently protested. Such was the backlash, that TV footage clearly showed Shilton Paul and Kinshuk Debnath manhandling the referee, and senior official Debasish Dutta also joined in on the fray. After initially escaping punishment, the Indian Football Association (IFA) has finally laid down the law and fined the duo of Paul and Debnath Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1lakh respectively, while Dutta has been suspended for three games.
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The ongoing investigation into the incident garnered criticism from the media and clubs alike, as the slow nature of dealing with the situation was indicated as justice denied, and under mounting pressure, the IFA was eventually forced to take this particular call.
The heart of the matter
Even though the decision was made to fine Shilton Paul and Kinshuk Debnath, under the rules of the I-League, if footage clearly shows violent conduct towards referees by players, it generally means a long suspension. Despite the time taken by authorities in dealing with this incident, a monetary fine is all that was imposed on the players.
The lack of experience in dealing with the incident meant that Mohun Bagan had two of their top players available to play for the Sikkim Governor's Gold Cup, earlier.
Mohun Bagan will begin their I-League campaign in a match against Minerva Punjab away from home.
The inadequacy of the IFA was once again highlighted and shows the disconnect between the clubs and the governing authority, yet again.