CHENNAI : The I-League witnessed a forfeiture after a long time, when Minerva Punjab FC refused to play their match against Real Kashmir FC in Srinagar on Monday. The defending champions had said earlier that the time is not appropriate to play football in the state where CRPF personnel were killed in a terror attack last week.Under I-League rules, forfeiting matches attract harsh punishments. It can be suspension, total deduction of points, fine and even ouster from the league. But Minerva have already approached Delhi High Court, urging that the match be rescheduled and they have agreed to play if that is done. The matter is expected to be heard on Tuesday.
Mohun Bagan were the last team to forfeit, when they pulled out midway through a match against East Bengal in 2012-13. They were initially handed a two-year ban, appealed to the All India Football Federation’s executive committee and were eventually fined `2 crore. They also had points deducted from all the matches they had played till that point.
“Rules say that when a team withdraws from a match after having entered the tournament, all their matches will be null and void. If this is followed, Minerva’s matches will be erased from tournament records. Effectively, it will become a 10-team league instead of 11. Teams who got points against Minerva will lose those points,” said an AIFF official.
“The match commissioner’s report along with other relevant documents are being referred to the All India Football Federation’s League Committee for further action as per the I-League Regulations,” said an AIFF statement. The match commissioner and the referees had been present in Srinagar since February 15.
EB apprehensive too Adding to the AIFF’s headaches, East Bengal on Monday said they would adopt a wait and watch policy regarding their match against Real Kashmir in Srinagar on February 28. “We have sent a letter to AIFF and we are awaiting the revert. Let them reply and then we will decide the next course of action,” club CEO Sanjit Sen was quoted as saying by PTI.
Chennai extend leadChennai City FC extended their lead to five points after beating Shillong Lajong FC in a thrillling 4-2 encounter in Shillong on Monday. Spanish recruits Pedro Manzi (2), Sandro Rodriguez and Nestor Gordillo scored for Chennai, who have 37 points from 17 matches. East Bengal are second with 32 from 16.