Mohun Bagan on Saturday termed AIFF’s suspension as “opposed to football policy” and “hurtful”, but said the club was yet to decide in which forum it would contest the ruling.
“We have received a 17-page order and we’re discussing about our next step... in which forum we shall take the matter,” Mohun Bagan general secretary Anjan Mitra said after the I-League core committee, based on the report of one-match committee of Justice A K Ganguly, suspended the club for the next two seasons for violation of rules.
Claiming that the decision was a step backward, Mitra said “Indian football, fans and peace-loving people are deeply hurt by the judgement. It’s opposed to football policy and in no way can take Indian football forward.”
Mitra said, “I hope the AIFF rethinks on the decision and gives another judgement. AIFF should keep in mind that Indian football will go backward and not forward with the decision.”
Asked whether the club would release the players on demand, Mitra said, “For the time being, the players will continue to practise. We will see when the situation arises.
“I request fans to keep patience with the club and wait till the last,” he said.
Mitra also stood by the club’s decision to pull out after the interval against East Bengal on December 9 when medio Syed Rahim Nabi was injured following violence in the stands.
He said that the club did want a repeat of the August 16, 1980 derby in the Eden Gardens when 40 people were killed.
“Football is important, but life is more important to us. There was a huge risk factor had we continued playing.
Those who question our move don’t know the ground realities,” he said.
He questioned how the game could continue when Nabi was profusely bleeding and was taken out in an unconscious state.
Blaming the referee for continuing the game, Mitra said, “He should have stopped the game midway. We had seen a similar situation during our Federation Cup match against Dempo, when Junior died on the field.
“We all know that the referee’s career was finished after (then AIFF president) Priya Ranjan Das Munshi had written to the AFC and FIFA. How can the AIFF depute a referee who has not even conducted a match that witnessed a crowd of more than 10,000? It was no ordinary match,” he said.
Asked about the violence by fans, Mitra said, “It’s just normal. It’s a historical club and the decision deeply hurt all of us. But I ask them to wait till the last.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of fans holding placards chanted slogans outside the club tent and blocked the Gostha Pal Sarani that connects Eden Gardens.
“We cannot forget this day. It’s a black day in the club’s history,” shouted a protester.
“We have brought you independence ... No Mohun Bagan, no I-League,” another chanted as he along with others lay on the road blocking it for close to 30 minutes before police restored order.