Bagan let off; AI, ONGC to be expelled
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While the All India Football Federation (AIFF) let off Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan lightly, there was no such reprieve for two other I-League clubs Air India and ONGC, who will be expelled from domestic competitions at the end of this season.
In a highly controversial decision, the executive committee of the AIFF decided to revoke the three-year ban imposed on Mohun Bagan. Instead, the Mariners were fined Rs 2 crore and docked all their points for the season. Bagan's suspension, however, will remain operative till the time they pay the fine and provide an undertaking to the AIFF that they will not breach the Code of Conduct in the future. The AIFF also initiated a disciplinary inquiry on Bagan captain Okolie Odafa and banned the club officials from attending any AIFF meetings for one year.
The decision to deduct 12 points has left Bagan at the bottom of the 14-team league. And with Odafa ruled out for at least two matches, the club will have to play really well in their remaining 16 matches to avoid relegation.
Meanwhile, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said that the two Mumbai-based teams have failed to fulfill the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) criteria and will not be allowed to compete in I-League or I-League 2 until they meet the norms. The decision to expel them was taken by AIFF's executive committee, which met in New Delhi on Tuesday. "The AFC have categorically told us that the clubs who do not meet the criteria should not be allowed in the league. We gave Air India and ONGC enough time to meet the norms but they have failed to do so. If we do not act, then we lose a spot in the prestigious Asian Champions League. The decision was ratified by the committee members and the clubs have been informed," Das told The Indian Express.
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