New Delhi: FC Pune City head coach Ranko Popovic was suspended by the disciplinary committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect on Friday pending further inquiry. Disciplinary Committee Chairman Ushanath Banerjee, while reviewing the latest public comments made by Popovic against referee and match officials, issued the sanction order. Also Read - FIFA Cancels Next Year's U-17 Women's World Cup in India, Allots it 2022 Edition

“Having considered the utterances against the decisions of the Referee and the Match Officials, it prima facie appears that Ranko Popovic has breached the disciplinary code and the law of the game with impunity amounting to gross misconduct,” Banerjee stated in a communication to the club. Also Read - I-League 2020-21 to Start on January 9: AIFF

Popovic was held guilty of abusing and insulting match officials and was slapped with sanctions on an earlier occasion as well. Also Read - I-League Likely to be Postponed to December End in Wake of Coronavirus Pandemic

“But even after that, he continued with his obdurate acts resulting in a warning. The instant subject matter is thus the third instance of improper conduct,” the AIFF said in a statement.

Popovic has been served a show cause notice and he has to reply by March 9 and appear for a hearing before the committee on March 16 at the AIFF headquarters in New Delhi.

“In the meanwhile, pending the final decision of the committee, Ranko Popovic will remain suspended under Article 21 and 22 of the code,” the AIFF statement added. (With IANS inputs)