Off to Brazil with purchased trophy
Shield final decision not before Friday
South Calcutta win 3-0
ARC in quarters
Race Review/ Form held on penultimate day

Calcutta, Oct. 8: 
Hours before the tournament committee met to decide � inconclusively, as it turned out � on the fate of last evening�s abandoned IFA Shield final, Palmeiras declared themselves champions this afternoon and quietly checked out brandishing a trophy they bought through their local hosts.

�It doesn�t matter what the organisers decide, as far as we are concerned, we are the champions� we have written to the IFA to that effect as well,� said interpreter La Martin da Silva, who had to double up as team spokesman because the others were too upset to speak after yesterday�s violent incidents.

�We would have liked to receive the real trophy but since that�s not happening, we are taking home a symbolic trophy we purchased today,� informed the spokesman.

He didn�t forget to mention that the Palmeiras team will, of course, report the entire incident to Fifa, their national federation (CBF) and the Brazilian embassy in India.

La Martin revealed that while the Palmeiras players sat locked up in the dressing-room for two hours after the on-field mayhem had forced abandonment of the final against East Bengal before half-time yesterday, no one had come to check whether they were interested in continuing with the match. �Why should we be penalised? We were leading 1-0 and could have scored two-three goals more,� the spokesman said.

But would they have agreed to return for the completion of the match? �Had we been given a definite assurance that our players would be given complete security, we could have gone back,� said La Martin, one of only three English-speaking members in the Palmeiras squad.

Talking about the free-for-all between the teams, the Palmeiras camp feels their players were provoked into turning violent. �Palmeiras went to play soccer, but it was a battlefield out there. The other team (East Bengal) was always trying to hit our players, there was a lot of pressure. They had to defend themselves.�

In effect, what Palmeiras said was that they were not the main culprits. �Some people are saying we are responsible for everything that happened, but that�s not the case. Both teams are to blame and it was they who started it,� La Martin said.

The Palmeiras camp felt the refereeing was of a very poor standard and even agreed that their medio Marcio could have been sent off for snatching the ball from the referee�s hand and kicking it into the stands when the match resumed after an initial seven-minute stoppage.

�That would have sent a strong signal to players of both teams and things wouldn�t have gone out of control,� said La Martin. Ultimately, of course, referee P. Bhaskar lost control of the match. �Eight of our players and the launderer received injuries, hit either by the opposition or the police.�

What he didn�t mention was that none of the injuries was too serious, as was evident when the players trooped out of the hotel to board the bus en route to the airport. With Swissair flights from Mumbai having been cancelled, the Brazilians had to alter travel plans and leave for home via New Delhi.

The Brazilian outfit was also critical of the manner in which the tournament was organised. �There were just too many problems� the grounds, the balls used as well as the refereeing. Our team was the best in the meet, but it could have still produced better football had the conditions been better.�

No dearth of complaints from a team which had arrived with great expectations. Perhaps, Palmeiras� pre-departure tone would have been softer had they won the trophy fair and square.


Calcutta, Oct. 8: 
Not unexpectedly, the tournament committee of the 107th IFA Shield failed to take a decision vis-�-vis the fate of last evening�s abandoned final between Palmeiras and East Bengal at the Salt Lake Stadium.

After an hourlong meeting of the nine-member committee this evening, IFA joint-secretary Ranjit Gupta announced that neither the match commissioner (M.K. Krishnamurthy) nor referee�s (P. Bhaskar) reports had anything specific to facilitate a definite decision.

However, the IFA has got hold of video footage of the violent incidents � during and after the final � which the committee will go through Wednesday. But they�ll not make their decision that day. �We will again meet on Friday to decide on the outcome,� said Gupta.

So much for the IFA�s efficiency and ability to act promptly.

Justifying the delay in arriving at a decision, Gupta said the committee was depending on the two reports. �Both gentlemen have stated the sequence of events and also mentioned a player from each side involved in a scuffle during play, but there�s nothing in it to help us decide one way or the other,� Gupta explained.

So what was the official reason for the abandonment of the final? �The match commissioner has written that Palmeiras left the field after the on-field free-for-all and confusion, leaving him with no option but to abandon the final. But he hasn�t said that Palmeiras refused to play,� Gupta clarified.

There�s no scope of summoning the two officials for further inquiry as the match commissioner and referee left this afternoon for Bangalore and Chennai, respectively.

With the two reports turning out to be vague, the IFA now has to bank solely on video footage of the incidents. �Without the video footage which we have been promised, we would have been in an embarrassing position,� admitted Gupta.

The IFA official informed that both Palmeiras and East Bengal had submitted documented �evidence� to press for their case. �Both teams have claimed they should be declared champions. But we can�t settle such a sensitive issue without going into all possible inputs. There�s every chance that this incident will be brought to Fifa�s notice, so we�ll have to be very careful,� said Gupta.

Big match Thursday

Meanwhile, the crucial Super Division championship leg Derby has been put off by a day and will now come off Thursday. Mohun Bagan, currently four points ahead of their arch-rivals, will clinch the title with a draw. East Bengal need to win to force a play-off.    

Calcutta, Oct. 8: 
South Calcutta blanked Burdwan 3-0 in a women�s team championship match of the 67th state and inter-district table tennis meet which got underway at Khudiram Anusilan Kendra today.

After Susmita Roy had given South Calcutta a winning start by beating Gargi Nag 11-2, 11-5, 11-3, Samapti Biswas saw off Haimanti Biswas 11-7, 11-6, 11-8. In the doubles rubber, Susmita and Poulami Ghatak beat Gargi and Haimanti 11-6, 11-8, 11-3.

In the veterans� events, R.P. Chatterjee won the under-60 title, Sadhan Datta claimed the under-50 crown and Subrata Dey bagged the under-40 category.

Junior National League

A splendid second-half rally helped JCT beat Churchill Brothers 3-2 in a junior National League match at the Howrah Stadium today.

Churchill led 2-0 in the first session through goals from Fernandez and Rodriguez. JCT hit back strongly in the second half, scoring through Gurdyal Ram, Shivdeep and Ashok Kumar. The day�s other match, between Tollygunge Agragami and India Sub-Junior, was a non-starter as the SAI ground was rendered unplayable after a heavy shower in Salt Lake.

Inter-school badminton starts today

The ninth inter-school invitation badminton tournament will start from tomorrow at the Mahadevi Birla Girls� Higher Secondary School sports complex. Fifteen schools will take part in the four-day long meet.

Apart from the hosts, the following schools will participate: Ashok Hall, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Birla High School, Calcutta Girls� School, GD Birla Centre for Education, The Heritage School, Kamala Girls� School, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Loreto Day School, Loreto House, Mahadevi Birla Shishu Vihar, Mother International, Our Lady Queen of the Missions School and Shri Shikshayatan.

Md Asim in semi-finals

Mohammed Asim beat Shahid Khan by 4-0 frames in the quarters of the state snooker meet at Bengal Rowing Club today. Prakash Mehrotra, Manoj Kothari, Sourav Kothari and Shahnawas Ahmed also won.    

Guwahati, Oct. 8: 
Former champions Assam Regimental Centre (ARC) of Shillong entered the quarter finals of the Bordoloi Trophy after defeating Guwahati Town Club 1-0 at the Nehru Stadium today.

Assam RC took the lead in the 19th minute when Lalmachana Hmar headed home a corner kick by Lalhmachouna Hmar.

Minutes before the goal, the Town Club custodian DB Narzary was rushed to hospital with head injuries and his condition is stated to be �worrisome�.

Assam RC will meet FC Kochin in the first quarter final scheduled for October 10 at the Nehru Stadium. Tomorrow, Assam Police and Oil India will play at Sualkuchi for the sixth quarter final berth.


Calcutta, Oct. 8: 
Horses performed true to form at the races last Wednesday despite the track being slow and softish through heavy rains since early Monday and intermittent showers during the afternoon.

Calamint was a virtual sitter in the lowest class race and she won the way she desired, while the likes of Added Assets and Addabs won their respective events easier than expected. Further, Heaven�s Blessing and Ballard Lady have been knocking at the door, thus they cashed in on their consistency.

As a short priced favourite, Calamint, on the opening day of the season had lost, albeit at big weight disadvantage, to Daniel David�s ward Secret Adversary � now in Class III. The Gold Discovery-Tamarisca daughter, therefore, had no business losing in the present class to another of trainer�s challenger Grecian Prince. The Prince was nearly humbled by an ordinary horse like Glass Slipper in his last outing. Cristopher Alford, partnering the Vijay Singh-trainee, had an armchair ride on the 3-10 hot fancy. Royal Ruler�s Class V victory, a week earlier, was far from fluent, but the Richard Alford trainee repeated the winning performance in the higher class.

The trainer was of opinion that the six-year-old was just beginning to come on when he struck in the lower class. He was, however, very confident before the start of the race that the horse with the lightweight would score a repeat win. Rutherford�s riding allowance further came handy and the apprentice rode a copybook race � keeping the second favourite off the pace till the final turn. However, it was Black Mane who threatened to win from the start after he build up a double-distance lead.

Suffering enormously because of the leader�s strategy was the favourite Freedom Warrior who failed miserably. In fact, the second placed Iron Warrior, too, could have done better. But his jockey, apprentice Dalpat Singh, was relatively new to such tricky situations.

Added Asset�s victory was overdue since the Adler-Palace Music son lost to Alkido earlier in the season boxed for a galloping room. Dalpat Singh rode a perfect race on the Daniel-trained five-year-old and overhauled public-fancy Ashbury in the feature event, the Green Sari Cup.

Addab had gone down fighting to Ardon in his last essay after winning a cliff-hanger against Crimson King when brought with a finishing effort. On the day, the Mujeeb-ur-Rehman-trained seven-year-old mare was kept in close attendance of the leader and the Tecorno-Legend daughter responded instantly when Rutherford urged her for effort.

Much was expected from Queen�s Logic, but the Bharath Singh-trainee does not seem to be liking the monsoon strip and of course the wet conditions. The Exclusive Virtue-Zulu Princess daughter was a disappointing third behind Crimson King who made most of the running.

Abashed attracted a good support in the Kelso Handicap thus pushing Bird�s Empire�s odds to 3�s after the Daniel�s ward had opened as a favourite at 7-4. Nevertheless, at the wire the Mariesnky-Farmacologist four-year-old had over a length to spare to the Vijay-trainee who led till 100m from home. The Gold Discovery-Simply Superb five-year-old did not appear to be sweating freely and also needed the run after his lay off from the track.


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