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U-18 I-League: Mohun Bagan suspended by AIFF for fielding overage player

Mohun Bagans place in the final stage of the competition will now be taken by United Sports.

Mohun Bagan U18.jpg
End of the road for the Mohun Bagan youngsters

What’s the story?

It was a day of shame for Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan as the Mariners were suspended from taking part in the final leg of U-18 I-League for fielding an overage player in their squad. The news of the decision was confirmed by I-League CEO Sunanda Dhar, who told www.xtratime.in in an interview, “Yes Mohun Bagan U18 team is suspended till the month of May, which means they will no longer be a part of the final stage.”

The punishment doesn’t end there. Bagan have also been hit with a financial hit and have been fined Rs.1 lakh by the Disciplinary committee as a part of the punishment.

In case you didn’t know...

The preliminary stage of the U-18 I-League consists of teams fighting it out in various zones which are demarcated according to the geographical proximity of the teams. Mohun Bagan, who were fighting it out in the highly competitive Kolkata zone had managed to top the zonal competition ahead of their perennial rivals East Bengal after claiming 23 points from their 10 games.

However, in the aftermath of the decision, they will now not be able to participate in the final leg of the competition.

Also read: I-League 2017: Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen confident of winning back the title

The heart of the matter

In a game against SAI (East), Mohun Bagan had fielded Subhankar Sanyal –  who was later proven to be older than the age group. This led to SAI officially launching a complaint against the Green and Maroon brigade to the AIFF seeking immediate results. 

Following the complaint, the AIFF had sent a show-cause letter to Mohun Bagan on the matter. Whilst a reply was given to the AIFF by the Mariners’ the governing body didn’t deem the answer to be satisfactory.

On being called up by the Disciplinary committee, the AIFF were faced with further disdain as none of the club officials responded to the call. That left the Federation with no other alternative but to sanction such a heavy fine.

What’s next?

With two clubs set to advance from the Kolkata zone, Mohun Bagan’s place in the final stage of the competition will now be taken by United Sports, who finished third in the Kolkata zone. East Bengal are the other team to advance from the zone.

Author’s take

The whole fiasco reeks of disdain and negligence. Whether done on purpose or by mistake, it is the due diligence of the club to scan every player before fielding in such a competition. The problem of age-cutting has been a constant one plaguing not only Indian football but the whole Indian sporting fraternity and if the officials of such a prestigious club hold such callous stance, this has no chance of getting eradicated.

Furthermore, with the club hierarchy turning a back to the AIFF’s call this just goes to show that the clubs who claim to have the vision to take Indian football forward are not willing to walk the talk, putting no importance to the grassroots level. And this is nothing but a shameful act by Mohun Bagan.

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