The Telegraph
Thursday , January 3 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mohun Bagan’s appeal may fall on deaf ears

New Delhi: Mohun Bagan’s appeal to reconsider their suspension from I-League could fall in deaf ears as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is not yet sure whether its executive committee has the power to grant a reprieve.

“We have received the letter of appeal from Bagan, which will be taken up in our next executive meeting,” said a senior AIFF official. “However, we don’t know whether the executive committee has the power to lift or reduce the suspension order imposed as per regulations,” he added.

AIFF, sources said, is currently taking legal advice on the matter. Bagan have been suspended from the I-League till the 2014-15 season for refusing to play the second half of the game against East Bengal, at the Salt Lake Stadium, on December 9 last year.

Though the I-League core committee meeting on January 9 has been deferred in view of the appeal made by Bagan, the green-and-maroon brigade could be fined heavily for walking out of the Derby.

“According to rules, Mohun Bagan could be asked to return any financial stipend that had been paid to them by the I-League,” the official said. The fine, which is currently being calculated, could also cover the expenses incurred by the AIFF on Bagan’s travel allowances during the ongoing I-League.

What has come as a surprise to many is the showcause notice issued to Bagan striker Okolie Odafe almost three weeks after he was red-carded in the unfinished tie against East Bengal. As per AIFF disciplinary code, Odafe could have been straightaway suspended for two matches for his offensive behaviour against the referee.

However, the AIFF can always argue that similar lines were adopted before players from East Bengal, Prayag United Sports Club and Dempo SC were suspended in the ongoing league.

Sources said it could be difficult for the federation to impose bigger punishment on the Nigerian, as he was not the culprit of any violent behaviour. There is also no video evidence to prove that he incited the crowd during the match.

Meanwhile, in Calcutta, Syed Rahim Nabi, who was hit by a brick during the I-League Derby on December 9, resumed practice, at the Mohun Bagan ground, on Wednesday.