Mohun Bagan to formally seek review of suspension

Kolkata, Dec 30 (IANS) Mohun Bagan would formally request the All India Football Federation to review its decision to impose a three-year suspension on the club for abandoning the Dec 9 I-League derby against arch-rivals East Bengal at the Salt Lake Stadium.

"We have decided that we will formally ask for a review," Mohun Bagan general secretary Anjan Mitra told IANS Sunday.

The letter would be sent to AIFF president Praful Patel by Monday.

"We have arrived at this decision after consulting our panel of lawyers," said Mitra.

The club executive committee had earlier empowered Mitra to decide on appealing at an appropriate forum against the suspension.

Meanwhile, Mohun Bagan defender Syed Rahim Nabi, who had to be hospitalised after he was hit by a stone during the Dec 9 game, Sunday decried suspension slapped on the club by the AIFF.

A day after Mohun Bagan was kicked out of the ongoing I-League and banned from its next two editions by the AIFF, Nabi wrote to the fans and the media, saying the club would have escaped the punishment had he died.

Saying he was "shell-shocked" at the punishment handed down to the club, Nabi said: "My injury was to a large extent responsible for Mohun Bagan refusing to continue that day after half time".

"Mohun Bagan was forced to take the tough decision in the interest of the footballers and football lovers, as the players and spectators could have sustained more serious injuries had the match gone into the second half."

Strongly backing the club's decision to withdraw from the match, Nabi regretted: "Had I died, then the country's national club would not have faced such punishment."

"I have been told that I would have died if only the stone had hit me only a small distance away from where it hit me," Nabi was quoted as saying in a media statement circulated by the club.

Mohun Bagan were trailing 0-1 in the game when Nabi was hit on the face by a stone hurled from the crowd, in the 43rd minute, at the packed Salt Lake Stadium.

Police had to baton charge to bring a 95,000 strong crowd under control. Play resumed after 15 minutes but Mohun Bagan refused to come out in the second half, forcing the match commissioner to call off the game.

The I-League core committee met in Delhi Saturday and announced the punitive action against Bagan.

The I-League core committee will again meet Jan 9 to decide if the quantum of punishment imposed on Mohun Bagan is enough or if additional fine and suspension were needed.

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