The disparity in fining clubs by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for skipping the Super Cup is being seen as an attempt to break the unified I-League group. The disciplinary committee of the AIFF, in a unanimous decision on May 16, fined five I-League clubs –- Gokulam Kerala FC, Minerva Punjab FC, NEROCA, Aizwal FC, and Churchill Brothers –- Rs 10 lakh each for non-participation in the Super Cup. But Quess East Bengal was handed over a penalty of only Rs 5 lakh. Eyebrows were raised by the decision of the disciplinary committee headed by Ushanath Banerjee with Haresh Vora, Adithya Reddy, Prateek Chadda and Madhab M. Ghosh as its members.
“Why are they imposing different fines for different teams when the mistake committed by them is the same,” V.C. Praveen, President of Gokulam Kerala FC, told IANS. Quess East Bengal had told the disciplinary panel in its submission that the club could not participate in the tournament because of the refusal by its sponsor Quess to support the outing. When asked if the AIFF is trying to dent the unified I-League teams, Praveen replied in the affirmative. “Yes, they are trying exactly that, otherwise nobody will charge a different penalty for the same fault,” he said.
“We have already lost five to seven lakh rupees when we stayed in Bhubaneswar for three-four days and we were ready to play,” Praveen said, adding that the club did not even get any subsidy for participating in the tournament. “We are talking to our lawyers for the future course of action,” he added.