The All India Football Federation on Friday, 2 May, rejected Kerala Blasters FC’s appeal against the ₹4 crore fine imposed on them for misconduct and for abandoning a ISL playoff match against Bengaluru FC.
The committee also rejected KBFC’s head coach Ivan Vukumanovic’s appeal against the fine of ₹5 lakh and a 10-game ban imposed on him.
Upholds earlier decisions
In both cases, the Appeal Committee upheld the earlier decisions of the Disciplinary Committee, and KBFC has been asked to “pay the respective fines within two weeks”.
Their ISL playoff on 3 March sparked controversy as Kerala Blasters walked off the field claiming that Sunil Chhetri’s winning strike from an extra time freekick was not “legitimate”.
They claimed that officiating referee, Crystal John, did not blow the whistle before Chhetri took the kick, and that the KBFC players were not ready.
By virtue of their extra-time lead, Bengaluru FC were declared 1-0 winners and advanced into the ISL semifinals.
“The appeal of the appellant team is denied and Kerala Blasters FC is instructed to pay the fine of ₹4 crore imposed by the Disciplinary Committee,” the Appeal Committee stated in its decision.
On the appeal made by Ivan Vukumanovic, the Appeal Committee said: “This Committee holds that the appeal of the Appellant Coach is denied and that Ivan Vukumanovic is instructed to pay the fine of ₹5 lakh and serve the suspension for 10 matches and the ban from being a part of the team dressing room and team bench, irrespective of the team he is contracted with.
“Any match for which such suspension and ban have already been served shall count towards compliance with this decision,” it added.
In its initial decision on 31 March, the Disciplinary Committee had also stated that the club and the coach needed to make public apologies, in the absence of which the fines would be increased to ₹6 crore and ₹10 lakh, respectively.
In its appeal, the club had argued for levity about the fine and asked that it be reduced to the minimum amount for abandoning the match.
The controversy began during the ISL knockout match on 3 March, in Bengaluru, after Indian striker Sunil Chettri scored a controversial goal during in the match between Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters Football Club at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
In its 96th minute, the ISL playoff match was all square when a free kick was awarded to Bengaluru FC outside the penalty box of Kerala Blasters.
Kerala Blasters’ players were getting ready to set up a wall right when Sunil Chettri just shot the ball past goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill.
The referee awarded the goal to Bengaluru FC and the next moment, Kerala players could be seen protesting.
Without wasting time, Kerala Blasters coach Ivan Vukomanović signalled to his squad to walk off, seemingly unhappy with the referee’s decision.
All the while, commentators speculated whether the referee, Crystal John, who was supposed to mark the 10-yards line, had allowed the game to continue.
Later, the match was abandoned and Bengaluru FC was declared the winner.
(With PTI inputs)