ISL 2018-19: Bengaluru FC Fans ask AIFF to improve Quality of Refereeing after Rs 15 Lakh Fine
Every referee officiating a match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium has probably been called a 'G**** referee' and you might think they deserve that abuse. But those chants have cost the club Rs 15 lakh as the All India Football Federation's Appeals Committee has fined Bengaluru FC over not reining their fans in.
The fans instead have asked the AIFF to improve their quality of refereeing, pointing out that they have not misbehaved at any point this Indian Super League (ISL) season.
The AIFF handed out the fine after fans from the West Block A Stand shouted 'F*** you ref' and other expletives at the official in the home games against FC Pune City, Kerala Blasters and Chennaiyin FC (ISL final).
BFC had appealed the decision as they felt they cannot dictate what the fans can and cannot say, but the verdict went against them anyway.
Even before the order was passed, the West Block Blues decided to stop hurling abuses at the referee and only stick to cheering their team on.
"See, you can't control what people say in the spur of the moment," Ajith Harish, a prominent member of the group, said. "The emotions run high during the games and especially if the referee gets something wrong, people lose it. Even if the referees were in our position, they would say something like that to the official. However, we have been raising awareness about the things we shouldn't say but the situation in other stadiums, if you have seen, is not better."
The West Block Blues are known to be a passionate lot. They keep the spirits high at Kanteerava - even in some away matches - and inspire the players with their encouraging chants and songs. However, it looks like they will have to further tone down their chants, else the club could be fined further.
"There has been a change in the way fans are behaving at the stadium now," Vijay RB, another BFC fan and member of the West Block Blues, said. "We know that they have been fined but we've not been chanting anything against the referee since the beginning of the season and it has always been pro-BFC chants if you have noticed."
Ajith though requested the AIFF address the standard of refereeing in the ISL games. There have been a number of instances of poor refereeing this season and three of them involve Kerala Blasters.
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Blasters' fan group Manjappada too demanded the same and even wrote to the league over the matter.
It's time the ISL and AIFF really act on the matter, says Ajith. "The West Block Blues have stopped saying anything against the referees. Now it's time the AIFF wakes up and makes the quality of the refereeing better instead of telling people what to say and what not to say," he added.