Mumbai FC cry foul

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 13.12.11

Guwahati, Dec. 12: Mumbai FC has alleged poor refereeing and lack of facilities in Guwahati for their Sunday’s 1-2 loss against hosts Shillong Lajong FC in the I-League ninth round match at Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.

In a post-match interaction with reporters, Mumbai FC coach Khalid Jamil was cynical of referee Vikramjit Purkayastha’s decisions to flash cards at players from his side, alleging that the referee was not considerate enough.

He felt the referee could have avoided the red card against Mumbai FC’s foreign recruit Kingsley Chioma considering the situation “as both the faults for which he was booked were apparently not deliberate”. Chioma was given the marching orders 15 minutes into the second half for a second count of yellow card in the match.

Refusing to lodge any official complaint against the referee, team manager Henry Picardo said, “It is no use lodging any complaint against the referee anywhere in football because the referee’s report is not transparent.”

Apart from being disgruntled with the refereeing, coach Jamil was also “not happy” with the arrangements here. “Every time we play Lajong at home, we face similar problems. We could not practice properly, as the arrangements were not upto the mark. The team bus reached our hotel late, causing a delay in our practice session on the eve of the match. And when we reached for the practice, the watering of the ground started, forcing us to cut short our session,” he alleged.

The local organising committee, however, rubbished the allegations, one of them saying, “These are baseless allegations which every losing team often makes.”

On the Nehru Stadium venue, Picardo said it did not fulfil the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) criteria.

“We sought to adopt Kolhapore as our home venue which the AIFF did not allow citing non-fulfilment of AFC criteria. This stadium in Guwahati, too, does not fulfil the criteria which the AIFF should look into,” he remarked.

The Shillong club has preferred the Nehru Stadium than the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Sarusajai here, which fulfils the criteria, keeping in view the location of the stadium within the city, which would make it convenient for the spectators from Shillong.

The assumption, however, proved wrong. Lajong coach Pradhyum Reddy was himself “disappointed” by the low turnout compared to Imphal and Shillong.

“The turnout in Shillong is great and Imphal has a good following for football. It was great to see all local people coming out for our matches in Imphal. Here it was disappointing because it was only the people who came down from Shillong and the local football lovers here did not turn up,” he said about the 5000-strong crowd that thronged the 30,000-capacity Nehru Stadium stands.