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Fine on cards as clubs justify skipping Super Cup

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IANS New Delhi
Faced with heavy fines and sanctions for not playing the Super Cup in March, the I-League clubs have denied being at fault during the two-day AIFF disciplinary committee hearing that concluded here on Sunday.
While sources in the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said the seven erring outfits could be fined up to Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh each for "breach of contract" and "breach of regulations", the clubs told the disciplinary committee that their acts were absolutely within the rules.
While Mohun Bagan said there was no question of violating any agreement or regulation since they did not even register players for the Super Cup and had informed the AIFF accordingly, Gokulam FC, Minerva FC, East Bengal, Churchill Brothers and Aizawl FC countered the AIFF, saying they withdrew from the tournament well in time. Neroca FC did not appear for the hearing.
One of the clubs argued in a written reply: "On February 5, 2019, the AIFF addressed a letter to the Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League clubs and attached the fixtures of the competition (Super Cup). It is pertinent to note that the AIFF itself stated in the subject line of the letter that the Super Cup will commence from March 15.
"On March 12, 2019, the clubs addressed a letter to the AIFF and withdrew their participation from the competition for the reasons mentioned therein."
"As per Article 10.2, the club has a right to withdraw from the competition and as per Article 10.4, the sanctions can be imposed if the club withdrew after the commencement of the competition. As the club did not withdraw after the commencement but withdrew before the competition, there is no question of imposition of any sanction," it said.
A similar line was toed by the four other clubs in their written submissions.
Article 10.2 of Super Cup regulations says: "Clubs that withdraw prior to the start of the competition may be replaced by another team as decided by the AIFF."
Article 10.4 points out that the participating club that withdraws from the competition after its commencement shall have its matches cancelled and considered null and void.
Interpretation of the rules notwithstanding, the AIFF considered the action of the clubs as a kind of rebellion against the parent body.
The AIFF league committee, in its meeting last month, said: "The clubs were in violation of Clause 2.2 and 5.1.1 of the participation team agreement signed by the seven I-League clubs and also in violation of Article 10 of the Super Cup regulations."
The I-League clubs withdrew from the Super Cup demanding a meeting with AIFF President Praful Patel regarding the future roadmap of Indian football. Patel agreed after the tournament commenced and as some clubs had already given walk-over by then, the rest of the clubs did not turn up as a show of solidarity.
(Jaydeep Basu can be contacted at basu.jaydeep@gmail.com)
--IANS
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First Published: Apr 28 2019 | 6:32 PM IST

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