ISL 2016: Kerala Blasters warned by authorities for 'insulting' Indian national anthem
Indian Super League has found itself embroiled in controversy, as the Kerala Blasters players have been accused of insulting the national Anthem as it was played ahead of a game against Mumbai City. The complaint has been reportedly filed with Kochi Police on October 14 after the Kerala Blasters’ home game against the Maharashtra outfit.
The complaint according to reports from the Hindustan Times concerns the activities of a few of the Kerala players during the singing of the National Anthem. A number of players were seen keeping their right hand over their heart as is the custom in many nations, an act which is seen around the world signifying their love for their country.
However, this action certainly has not gone down well with some of the people watching the games. Following the complaint, the Assistant Commissioner of Police of the Special Branch (Kochi) had reportedly shot off a letter to the CEO of Kerala Blasters on October 31.
The letter has seemingly directed the club to ask the players and the mascots to not only refrain from this practice but also to announce on the Public Announcement system to tell the crowd to stand in ‘attention’ while the national anthem is sung out, although there is no official legislation regarding the same. The club has also reportedly been threatened with serious repercussions if they fail to comply.
The matter has reportedly been brought to light to the Blaster’s official in the Match Commissioner's Meeting, which takes place a day before every game in the ISL.
Sources close to the ISL have confirmed to Sportskeeda that they indeed been informed of the complaint. However, they refrained from making any statement whilst the club hierarchy mull on an official stance regarding the same.
It will be interesting to see the response from the Kerala Blasters. Sachin Tendulkar, one of the principal owners of the Blasters was embroiled in a similar controversy during his playing days, when in 2005, he was ordered to remove the Indian flag sticker from his helmet. However, he wore the same with pride and kept the sticker on his helmet till his last playing days.
The Blasters had beaten Mumbai 1-0 on the night the complaint was lodged. That started a string of results which now sees them placed fourth on the table. After a dismal start to the season, the Blasters seem to be back on track after getting 7 points from their last 4 games and hopefully, this will not become a storm in a teacup.