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Decision on Bagan tomorrow

New Delhi: Mohun Bagan’s fate in the I-League will be known on Saturday when the league core committee meets at the All India Football Federation (AIFF) headquarters in the Capital.

Though the buzz in the AIFF corridors is that the one-man commission, headed by Justice (retired) Asok Ganguly, has held Bagan responsible for breaching Regulation 22 of the I-League, a federation official said the report will be made public only on Saturday.

“I have no idea about the content of the report, I-League chief executive officer Sunando Dhar said on Thursday.

Apart from Dhar and AIFF secretary Kushal Das, both of whom are ex-officio members of the core committee, representatives of East Bengal, Dempo, Lajong FC and Pune FC will also be present at the meeting.

In case the one-man commission clears Bagan of the charges of not abiding by Rule 22 of the competition, the green and maroon brigade are expected to be back on the pitch almost immediately.

A verdict in favour of the AIFF, however, could put Mohun Bagan out of the I-League for up to two years.

Under the present circumstances, Bagan, it seems, may well have to regret their decision of not taking the field in the second half against East Bengal, at the Salt Lake Stadium, on December 9.

However, Bagan would reserve the right to appeal, if they are found ‘guilty’.

Though it entirely depends on the core committee to take a decision, there are possibilities of all Bagan matches being cancelled and considered null and void. The ongoing league, after Bagan’s ouster, will then be reduced to a 13-team competition.

They may also be asked to return any financial stipends paid to them by the I-League.

Now the question is whether Bagan will at all be banned for up to two years.

Federation sources said that given Bagan’s glorious tradition and contribution to Indian football, the committee may ban them for this season only.

"After all, Mohun Bagan have a big support base. They are still one of the most popular teams in the country.

“It remains to be seen whether the core committee takes a practical view on the subject,” said an executive committee member.