Calcutta: As if it wasn’t gloomy enough, Friday provided fresh reasons to view the state of affairs in city soccer in further ‘bad light’, literally, when a crucial CFL Premier Division (championship round) tie was abandoned on a flimsy excuse.
The match between McDowell Mohun Bagan and Prayag United SC, at the Kalyani Stadium, was in its 78th minute and goalless when the referee, Prabir Dhar, stopped play because of bad light. The protest about the light came mainly from the Bagan camp while United SC were eager to continue the match.
It was around 5.25 pm, but the referee waited with the expectation that light may improve. At that time of the day, it was like expecting an elephant to do a pole vault.
The referee ultimately blew the final whistle 20 minutes after the match was stopped and the game was declared abandoned. United SC coach and players were furious, while the Bagan officials, who were over-keen to prove how bad the light was, pointing towards the brightness of the street lamps, were a relieved lot.
The IFA has come up with a revised fixture for the championship round matches. While the Bagan-United SC re-match will be played on Sunday, the East Bengal-United SC match has been shifted to Tuesday. The Bagan-East Bengal Derby date, however, remains unchanged and will be played on Thursday.
United SC players and coach were initially against a rematch, but the officials later confirmed that they will play .
While East Bengal lead the table with 18 points, Bagan are two behind on 16. United SC have 14 points.
To be honest, the light was good enough for 12 more minutes of soccer, if it was played with a football and not a cricket ball, when the game was stopped.
One also wonders why the match was scheduled at 3.45pm with no floodlights at the stadium. But for a change, the IFA has reacted well and the rescheduled matches will start at 3pm. The Derby will start at 5pm.