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1-year bar on India

Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Wednesday imposed a one-year ban on India hosting any international football tournament after it failed to provide a report on the disputed IFA Shield final which took place in Calcutta last year, reports AFP.

AFC general secretary Peter Velappan said the body was “seriously upset” that Indian officials had not submitted a report on the brawl that erupted during the October 7, 2001, match which was first abandoned and then awarded to East Bengal.

Palmeiras of Brazil were playing against East Bengal in that match.

“Despite numerous reminders and time extensions, the AIFF (All India Football Federation) did not submit the report to the AFC,” said Velappan. The AIFF was also slapped a fine of $5,000.

AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam warned that the body would not tolerate violence and cheating in Asian football. “As we reward teams that are doing good for football, we also need to eliminate people who misuse the law.”

AIFF in the dark

A Staff Reporter in Calcutta adds: Contacted in Goa, AIFF secretary Alberto Colaco said he was yet to officially hear about the development. “The AIFF president (Priya Ranjan Das Munshi) is attending an AFC meeting in Kuala Lumpur, but I have not heard anything about this.

“If the ban is imposed, we will definitely appeal against it. But if the ban does come into effect, I don’t know whether it will be applicable to hosting international events featuring national teams or club teams,” said Colaco.

India was supposed to host at least one international tournament early next year, it was announced at a press conference here recently.

The meet was expected to be sponsored by LG. If the AFC ban is imposed, that tournament will certainly have to be scrapped.

“Right now, I am in no position to comment on this,” said Colaco. “But as far as the AFC Champions League (featuring top clubs from each country) is concerned, it is supposed to be held in a mandatory home-and-away basis, and I hope Indian teams will not be barred from taking part in it.”

A source in the federation said that the AIFF could not submit any report because it “failed to convene a meeting on this issue in time.”

The IFA, which had awarded the controversial match to East Bengal, is trying to steer clear of the controversy, as usual. “We followed all instructions of the AIFF in this regard,” said IFA joint secretary Ranjit Gupta.

“We sent a report to the AIFF on the incident soon after the match. I also appeared before the three-member inquiry committee set up by the AIFF and submitted necessary documents,” Gupta maintained. “But as of now, even I am yet to hear about this officially.”

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