Super Cup Boycott: I-League clubs fined ₹10 Lakh; East Bengal gets lesser sanction from AIFF
What's the Story?
The AIFF Disciplinary Committee slammed a fine of ₹10 Lakh to five I-League clubs - Churchill Brothers, NEROCA, Aizawl FC, Minerva Punjab and Gokulam Kerala - over their refusal to participate in the Super Cup. East Bengal escaped with a fine of just ₹5 Lakh whereas Mohun Bagan's case was transferred to the Arbitration Tribunal.
In case you don't know...
Rumours started to do rounds that the 2018-19 season of I-League would be the last edition of the tournament as the top flight league of India and ISL would be given the premier division status from the next season.
The I-League clubs wanted a clarification and wished to meet the AIFF President Praful Patel. However, the AIFF continued their silence and the clubs decided to boycott the Super Cup.
The heart of the matter
Only 3 I-League clubs - Chennai City FC, Real Kashmir and Indian Arrows - took part in the Super Cup, reducing it to the sham of a tournament. While Arrows is the AIFF's developmental side, the other two clubs featured in the tournament to avoid being sanctioned.
The AIFF took the boycott quite seriously and decided to impose a fine on the clubs that refused to play the tournament.
The AIFF League Committee met in the second week of April and forwarded the matter to the Disciplinary Committee to decide the course of action. On Thursday, the Disciplinary Committee passed an order wherein five of the boycotting I-League clubs had to pay a fine of ₹10 Lakh to the governing body.
East Bengal got away with ₹5 Lakh only as the club management wanted to participate in the tournament but their investors-cum-owners prevented them from doing so.
“The club cannot be held guilty of indiscipline or misconduct. It is the sponsors of the club (Quess) who committed so and intended to jeopardise the integrity of the competition.
"Balancing upon the degree of culpability, the committee felt that in order to reduce the humiliation upon East Bengal, quantum of fine should be less than the other clubs and imposed penalty of Rs 5 lakh," the order reads.
Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, didn't register their players for the Super Cup and communicated with the AIFF that they would be unable to participate in the tournament. Their matter has been forwarded to the Arbitration Tribunal for further action.
The I-League clubs have hit a nail on their own foot by boycotting the Super Cup. There is still no clarification on the future of the I-League, whether it will exist or continue as the top professional football division of the Indian football league system.