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AIFF imposes fine on I-League clubs for pulling out of Super Cup

AIFF fines I-League clubs for withdrawing from the Hero Super Cup

The AIFF’s Disciplinary Committee has imposed a fine of 10 lakh rupees on Aizawl FC, Churchill Brothers, Gokulam Kerala, Minerva Punjab and NEROCA FC for pulling out of the Super Cup held in the months of March and April this year.

East Bengal FC have been handed a five lakh rupee fine in a strange situation where the club and their main sponsors Quess were at loggerheads regarding participation.

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.

AIFF Disciplinary Committee

Mohun Bagan, who were one of the seven clubs who boycotted the tournament, did not sign up for the tournament originally and their case is under arbitration.

The I-League clubs had originally sent a letter in December 2018 with a list of demands following the decision of Star Sports to cut down the number of matches shown and the lack of promotional and marketing activity for the I-League.

After the AIFF did not respond or acknowledge the letter, the seven clubs sent another intimation citing their non-participation in the Super Cup protesting against the general apathy and the lack of a clear road map for the I-League. They clubs also insisted that they meet the president of the AIFF, Praful Patel, to air their grievances.

Although the AIFF president agreed to meet the clubs in April 2019, the tournament had already commenced by the time the announcement was made and most of the clubs had already conceded a walkover.

The meeting with Praful Patel never materialised with the president saying:

Despite my busy schedule because of the general elections back home and today’s FIFA Council, I assured them that I would meet from April 11 to 14.

But, despite my assurance, they acted in a manner that is unbecoming of sportsmanship. What is the point of having this meeting now since they have pulled out of the Super Cup,

Praful Patel, President, AIFF

The Super Cup was intended to be a knockout tournament between the two competing leagues. However, the latest edition held in March-April 2019 ended up being a tournament with mostly ISL teams and was not enthusiastically received by the supporters.

Stung by the abject criticism during and after the Super Cup 2019, the AIFF Technical Committee minced no words in laying out the dictum.

Sports bodies cannot be hijacked or held under any threat by a group of vested interested persons or the clubs. Neither the president nor any office bearer has any individual power or authority to do so.

Hence, demanding that unless the President of the AIFF meets a particular group of clubs, they would not participate in the national competition that too after entering the competition and undertaking to ensure faithful compliance of the regulations of the Competition, is nothing but intending to hold the national federation under ransom and such subversive conduct cannot be claimed to be ‘bonafide’ and should be dealt with appropriately.

AIFF Technical Committee

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