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AIFF wants review of Mohun Bagan’s decision on Super Cup no-show

Jaydeep Basu

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Mohun Bagan were among seven I-League clubs to pull out of the Super Cup. Photos: Google and www.supercup.in

The AIFF has moved to its appeal committee against a decision of its disciplinary committee to exempt Mohun Bagan from punishment for not playing the Super Cup

New Delhi: India’s law minister has recently been quoted as saying that the judiciary should stop treating the law ministry like a “post office”. It did create some discomfort at certain levels, but the idea seems to have hit the All India Football Federation (AIFF) well.

According to sources, the federation has decided to move to its own appeal committee against a decision of its disciplinary committee to leave out Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan while slapping fines on six other outfits for not playing the Super Cup in March-April.

Both the committees are part of several sub-committees of the federation, constituted in December 2016 as per the AIFF’s constitution. The committees are packed and headed by prominent and well-known lawyers.

“It may be unprecendented but true,” confirmed a senior official of the federation. “The parent body does not fully agree with the decision of the disciplinary committee. Like others, it too holds the right to approach the appeal committee. The date of conveying the appeal committee will soon be finalised,” he said.

It is now to be seen what the disciplinary committee, headed by advocate UN Banerjee, had to say on Mohun Bagan’s non-participation in Super Cup, a tournament virtually run and controlled by federation’s all-powerful marketing partners.

While imposing a fine of Rs. 10 lakh each on Aizawl FC, Minerva FC, Churchill Brothers, Gokulam FC and Neroca FC and Rs. five lakh on East Bengal, the committee said the issue of Mohun Bagan’s “non-participation” should be referred to arbitration since it was in no position to take a decision.

Devoid of I-League clubs, the Super Cup was largely played in front of empty stands.

Mohun Bagan, on their part, pointed out that the club did not “withdraw” from the Super Cup but was prevented by overwhelming circumstances beyond the control to enter the tournament.

The club also said that they did not enter the tournament at all, so the question of withdrawal or playing damages do not arise.

The disciplinary committee, in its report dated May 15, observed: “Therefore the preliminary issue of jurisdiction and authority of the committee, as raised by the club is answered in favour of Mohun Bagan Football Club (India) Private Limited….”

The committee also said: “In the sequitur, the reference to the Disciplinary Committee as mentioned heretofore, is disposed of with the observation that the Disciplinary Committee could not resolve the dispute and the All India Football Federation may refer the entire subject issue to Arbitration….”

It is now bit of a mystery why the AIFF officials decided to approach its appeal committee instead of opting for arbitration as advised by the disciplinary committee.

Sport has transformed into a ‘business’, rather than ‘sport’ – AIFF’s disciplinary committee, in its report related to Mohun Bagan, noted

Sources in the federation said the move was initiated at the insistence of its marketing partners, who were believed to be unhappy with the way the two Kolkata teams were let off by the disciplinary committee.

“Last month, a meeting of the AIFF Emergency Committee was held at the residence of federation president Praful Patel. There the issue of Super Cup withdrawal was discussed and members were briefed about the objections raised by the marketing partners.

“It was informed the marketing partners were clearly upset by the way Super Cup in Bhubaneswar turned out to be a complete flop because of I-League clubs,” the source said.

FC Goa beat Chennaiyin 2-1 in the final to win the 2018-19 Super Cup.

Whatever the AIFF officials have to say, it is definitely yet another attempt by a power lobby within the federation to push the I-league clubs’ back to the wall and reduce the I-League to obscurity.

The disciplinary committee, in its report related to Mohun Bagan, had an important thing to say. It said: “Sport has transformed into a ‘business’, rather than ‘sport’.

“While it is true the financial support is necessary, but the same cannot dominate over sporting necessities. Promotion of sport does not mean destroying the same by asserting commercial rights or interests.”

Football Lounge

Coutinho stars as Brazil thump Bolivia in Copa America opener

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Brazil lacked a cutting edge in the absence of star forward Neymar.

Sao Paulo (Brazil): Philippe Coutinho scored two second-half goals as Brazil kicked off their Copa America with a 3-0 victory over Bolivia.

On Friday, the Barcelona attacker netted twice inside five minutes before substitute Everton put the result beyond doubt with a long-range strike at Sao Paulo’s Morumbi Stadium, reports Xinhua news agency.

Despite the comprehensive scoreline, the five-time world champions were below their best against an organised if unthreatening Bolivia outfit.

For long periods, Brazil lacked a cutting edge in the absence of star forward Neymar, who was ruled out of the tournament last week because of an ankle injury.

“It was a tough match for us,” Coutinho told reporters after the game. “At half-time, the manager (Tite) asked us to focus more and to control the ball better. We managed to do that. The first goal changed the course of the match.”

Brazil dominated possession early but struggled to find ways past a resolute Bolivia defence. Roberto Firmino and Thiago Silva had early chances from corners while Coutinho failed to make clean contact with a header after a Filipe Luis cross.

Tite opted against making changes at half-time and his faith was rewarded almost immediately.

Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana consulted the video assistant referee before ruling that Adrian Jusino used his left hand to obstruct Richarlison’s chipped shot. Coutinho then dispatched the resultant spot-kick into the bottom left corner.

The goal quickly released the pressure on Brazil and the Selecao netted again four minutes later when Coutinho headed in after a precise cross from his former Liverpool teammate Firmino.

Everton, introduced as an 85th-minute substitute for David Neres, completed the rout with a fine solo goal, five minutes from time.

The Gremio forward cut in from the left before smashing a low drive from the edge of the box that curled into the bottom right corner of Carlos Lampe’s goal.

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Star Sports renews exclusive broadcast rights for EPL till 2022

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Star Sports will broadcast over 250 Premier League games LIVE across the network and beam all 380 games LIVE on its digital platform Hotstar

Mumbai: For the past two decades, Star Sports, India’s leading sports broadcaster has continued to entertain football fans in India with top flight English football. On Friday, Star Sports announced that it will continue its partnership with Premier League for the next three years running up to the 2021-22 season.

The renewal reinforces Star Sports’ and Hotstar’s commitment to football in India, with the best of global and Indian football action. Star Sports will broadcast more than 250 Premier League games LIVE across the network and beam All 380 games LIVE on Hotstar.

Commenting on the partnership, Gautam Thakar, CEO, Star Sports, said, “We are excited to continue our partnership with the Premier League and are proud to showcase the best of football on Star Sports. As the home of sports, we are delighted to bring the Premier league to passionate fans in India and look forward to many fantastic seasons of football in the years ahead.”

Premier League director of broadcasting, Paul Molnar said, “We look forward to continuing to work with Star to make the best Premier League action available to the many passionate football fans in India who closely follow our clubs and the competition.”

The world’s most watched league will continue to showcase the talent of Kevin De Bruyne (Man City), Mo Salah (Liverpool), Paul Pogba (Man United), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Harry Kane (Tottenham) on the field with Pep Guardiola (Man City), Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool), Unai Emery (Arsenal) and Ole Gunnar Solskjær (Man United) orchestrating the team movements from off the field. The quality of play continues to get better in the league with promoted teams putting up a challenge.

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Football Lounge

Casillas yet to decide on future

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Iker Casillas suffered a heart attack recently.

Madrid: Former Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas on Thursday said he had not yet decided whether he would retire from the sport after suffering a heart attack amid rumours in several Portuguese newspapers that he would hang up his gloves before the start of the next season.

Cassilas, on his Twitter account, reshared a previous tweet in which he said he was yet undecided about his future in the sport.

In the original tweet, published just over two weeks after his heart attack on May 1, the former Real Madrid goalie said: “Retirement, there will be a day that I’ll have to retire. Let me announce this when the moment comes. For now … everyone relax! I had an appointment yesterday with Dr. Filipe Macedo. Everything is ok. This is great news that I would like to share with all of you!”

In his retweet, he said: “The same from this tweet from one month ago, except the part of the meeting with the Doctor. More than anything because my appointment is tomorrow. Big hug to everyone.”

The former Real Madrid captain suffered a heart attack during a training session with his current team, FC Porto, casting major doubt about his ability to continue in the sport.

Casillas’ personal situation got even more complicated when his wife, journalist Sara Carbonero, announced that she went through a malignant ovarian tumour surgery on May 21.

On June 6, various Portuguese newspapers said that Casillas met Pinto da Costa, President of FC Porto, where he was offered the possibility to continue working in the club, but as part of the technical staff.

Casillas made his professional debut with Real Madrid under then coach, Welshman John Benjamin Toshack, against Athletic Bilbao in September 1999 in San Mames at the age of 19.

At Real Madrid, Casillas was in the team that won the UEFA Champions League three times, LaLiga five times, the Copa del Rey twice, the Spanish Super Cup four times and the FIFA Club World Cup twice.

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