Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic handed 1-match ban and fined for comments against referees | Indian Super League 2023-24

Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic. (KBFC)
Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic. (KBFC)

Ivan Vukomanovic, head coach of Kerala Blasters, has been slapped with a one-match ban and fine of ₹50,000 by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for unsavoury comments he made against the referees officiating in the ISL.

Vukomanovic recently returned to the dugout after serving a long-term ban for asking his team to walk off the pitch in a playoff game against Bengaluru FC last season.

This time, the governing body took offense to the comments he made against the referees during the post-match press conference between Kerala Blasters and Chennaiyin FC.

Vukomanovic expressed his frustration about the poor decision-making from the referee and linesmen that led to the Marina Machans scoring early.

“You know, it’s like having a season ticket, conceding goals against Chennaiyin in the first minute, as we did last year. The funny thing is, it happened in front of the bench. No foul, then offside at the goal, a player influencing our goalkeeper in an offside position. Referees don’t react in the first minute,” Vukomanovic said.
“Watching the videos, you wonder how they can’t see that. Offside positions, late linesmen- it’s frustrating. We aim to stay positive, but these referees couldn’t lead or manage the game,” he added.

“It’s not their fault; it’s the fault of those educating them" - Ivan Vukomanovic had torn into the training system of the referees

Ivan Vukomanovic is a highly revered figure in Kochi. (KhelNow)
Ivan Vukomanovic is a highly revered figure in Kochi. (KhelNow)

Vukomanovic's criticisms did not end with the specific mistakes by the officials. He went on to say that it was the education system of the said referees that was responsible for them making the mistakes.

The Kerala Blasters' head coach has been in trouble with the AIFF before, most notably for the walk-out incident against Bengaluru FC last season.

However, this time, his attack was concentrated upon the poor decision-making of the officials and the governing body was quick to take action.

“It’s not their fault; it’s the fault of those educating them. It’s the third year, and I see this year’s outcomes won’t be decided by teams or players, but by referees. Our system, technologies – we’ll deal with it. When the game starts like that, referees lose control, and everyone gets frustrated for many different situations,” Vukomanovic added.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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