New Delhi: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Friday rejected Kerala Blasters FC’s appeal against the Rs 4 crore fine imposed on them for misconduct and abandonment of their ISL playoff match against Bengaluru FC. The committee also rejected KBFC’s head coach Ivan Vukumanovic’s appeal against the fine of Rs 5 lakh and a 10-game ban imposed on him.
In both cases, the Appeal Committee upheld the earlier decisions of the Disciplinary Committee and were asked to ‘pay the respective fines within two weeks’. Their ISL playoff on March 3 sparked controversy as Kerala Blasters walked off the field claiming that Sunil Chhetri’s winning strike from an extra time freekick was not ‘legitimate’. They claimed that referee Crystal John did not blow the whistle before Chhetri took the kick and the players were not ready. By virtue of their extra-time lead Bengaluru FC were declared 1-0 winners and advanced into the ISL semifinals. ‘The appeal of the appellant team is denied and that Kerala Blasters FC is instructed to pay the fine of Rs 4 crore imposed by the Disciplinary Committee,’ the Appeal Committee stated in its decision.
On the appeal made by Ivan Vukumanovic, the Appeal Committee said: ‘This Committee holds that the appeal of the Appellant Coach is denied and that Ivan Vukumanovic is instructed to pay the fine of Rs 5 lakh and serve the suspension for 10 matches and the ban from being a part of the team dressing room and team bench, irrespective of the team he is contracted with. Any match for which such suspension and ban have already been served shall count towards compliance with this decision’.
In its initial decision on March 31, the Disciplinary Committee had also stated that the club and the coach needed to make public apologies, in the absence of which the fines would be increased to Rs 6 crore and Rs 10 lakh, respectively. In its appeal, the club had argued for levity with regards to the fine and asked that it be reduced to the minimum amount for abandoning the match.