The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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AIFF and its weird ways

Imphal: If anything, the AIFF is a pretty flexible organisation. Rules are made to be bent — no, nobody breaks rules, that’s hearsay — and deals are struck with scant respect to rules. But that is the fun of it all — no accounting for any deed done.

The 58th national football championship for the LG Santosh Trophy is a case in point. When Bengal wanted to change two of the players in the already posted roster of 20, they approached all the ‘right’ top fellas, including the IFA bosses and the AIFF supremo Priya Ranjan Das Munshi. The chief said fine, he’ll send a fax. AIFF secretary Alberto Colaco, mostly a Das Munshi follower, found a platform too suddenly and vetoed it. No more players for Bengal.

When the tournament committee took up the case of five Tamil Nadu players’ misbehaviour in their match versus Manipur in the last quarter final and a similar case of Bengal’s Chandan Das and assistant coach Sishir Ghosh, they passed an unilateral decision banning them for periods well beyond the meet. The AIFF bosses, incidentally had not bothered to come down — they are expected grace the city Tuesday, the day of the final.

A lot of questions were asked regarding the authority of the organisers to act as supervisors beyond their area, and then Hardev Jadeja came along, chairman of the disciplinary committee of the AIFF and an executive, and said he thought those were rather beyond-means decision by the All Manipur Football Association.

In the second semi-final, there was none except Jadeja to take decisions. Had he not been around, all hell would have broken loose in the camps. So what happened' Everybody asked for his pound of flesh. The spectators wanted a replay, they got it. They wanted the match officials changed, they were successful. The Goans wanted Alvito D’Cunha’s ban to be reduced to one match, it was (“we found that the decision had been too harsh,” admitted Jadeja later).

The decisions have been so wild, and that to which end, it is difficult to tell. But in the main, the strain visible is, still, that weird cacophony that depicts the AIFF.

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