Calcutta, Sept. 13: The Mohun Bagan camp was absolutely livid. Be it the coach, the players, officials or supporters, they were unanimous in their verdict that the referee and his assistant had conspired to deny them victory over Mohammedan Sporting on Saturday by disallowing a Marcos Parreira goal.
“In my 20-year association with football, I have never have seen an incident like this…a direct free-kick conversion being disallowed for off-side by the assistant referee after the whistle had been blown for a goal' Absolutely incredible! Who was off-side and how'” the normally calm Aloke Mukherjee rattled off, quivering with excitement.
The Mohun Bagan coach went to the extent of saying that he would ask his club to withdraw from the IFA Shield if the state association can’t guarantee good referees. “We have been suffering too much from poor refereeing…If the players can be summoned to explain their behaviour during a match, the IFA should also pull up referees who are murdering the game.”
An official letter was sent to the IFA this evening, demanding a review of the incident and proper action against referees.
IFA secretary Subrata Dutta said he was helpless. The official said the association didn’t have the power to “punish” referees. “We do monitor the siutation and at times, have tried to freeze some of the referees. But we can’t intervene otherwise.”
The coach refused to buy the theory that his team had put up a disappointing show. “If players are made to play so frequently, how can you expect them to be at the top of their skills everyday' I have so many injured players in the team…Considering the fact that they have been playing every alternate day, I think they did quite well.
Mohammed Habeeb, his opposite number, was happy with the team’s performance. “It was our last game and we were just playing for pride…We should have won 3-2 if the forwardline had not failed.”
On the disallowed ‘goal’, the coach said the linesman was in the best position to judge an off-side. Technical adviser P.K. Banerjee said the team felt the absence of John Ugwu.