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IFA slaps two-year ban on Bhowmick

Calcutta: The IFA disciplinary committee on Thursday slapped a two-year suspension on East Bengal coach Subhas Bhowmick for making derogatory remarks against the association during the Super Division League last year.

The ban will come into effect from May 16. It means East Bengal’s campaign in the National League and AFC Champions League will not be affected by the decision. Bhowmick can appeal against the decision to the IFA governing body within 48 hours of receiving the letter.

“Bhowmick will not be allowed to be part of any IFA affiliated club or organisation for any tournament or match organised by the association at any ground. He will be debarred from entering the technical arena and reserve bench, and also not be allowed inside the fencing for the next two seasons,” IFA secretary Subrata Dutta said after the committee meeting.

Bhowmick, though, is likely to take the legal route for what he called was “a breach of fundamental right”. “Once I receive the order, I will sit with my lawyers and discuss if one has the right to infringe the fundamental right of an individual in this fashion,” he told The Telegraph.

The IFA secretary, who termed the decision as “sad and unfortunate”, said that the committee had kept in mind Bengal football and East Bengal’s interests while arriving at the decision. In this context, Dutta also quoted the East Bengal secretary’s letter to the IFA which said that the club did not share the coach’s views and the association was at liberty to take any decision they thought appropriate.

Bhowmick had criticised the IFA in September, calling the association “stupid and money-minded” for carrying on with the play-off final in the Super Division. The IFA issued a show cause notice on October 18, asking him to explain the reasons behind such remarks.

Though he replied to the show cause, Bhowmick refused to appear before the IFA governing body and disciplinary committee. Dutta was non-committal and only said that the severity of the punishment “may have been influenced by Bhowmick’s non-appearance”.

The IFA’s decision has drawn criticism from all around the Maidan.

“Bhowmick had earlier said that it was his personal problem and the club should not get involved. But after today’s IFA decision, I feel the club should react. I’ll call for a committee meeting and decide the course of action,” East Bengal president Dr Pronab Dasgupta said.

“The IFA decision is very, very harsh and such things don’t happen in any part of the world,” he added.

Subrata Bhattacharya felt the decision is not good for the game. “A fine would have been appropriate. The IFA had once fined me Rs 50,000 and could have taken a similar step. The game has to be kept alive and if coaches are forced to desert the Maidan, who will take charge'” asked Bhattacharya.

Aloke Mukherjee also echoed similar sentiments. “Two years have been too harsh… It would have been better if both parties had settled it across the table,” the Mohun Bagan coach said.

Mohammedan Sporting coach Jamshed Nassiri was “surprised” by the IFA decision.

“Nowhere in the world is such a severe punishment handed out. It’s been too harsh,” he said.

Unfortunately, the IFA’s decisions are not guided by sentiments in the Maidan.

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