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Bhutia blames Bagan officials for I-League ban

December 29, 2012 17:47 IST

Former India skipper Bhaichung Bhutia on Saturday criticised Mohun Bagan after the All India Football Federation (AIFF) banned the club for two I-League seasons for violation of rules, saying the "officials did not think about the consequences" before abandoning its derby against East Bengal on December 9.

"The officials took the decision without thinking of the consequences," Bhutia said.

Bagan, India's oldest soccer club, was handed a two-year ban from the I-League for pulling out of its violence-marred derby match against the bitter rivals in Kolkata.

Expressing concern over the fate of the players, Bhutia, however, said that the sport will have to go on.

"I feel sorry for the fans and the players. (But) football has to go on. Even if Sachin (Tendulkar) doesn't play, cricket goes on," the Sikkimese snipper, one of Indian football's most charismatic players, said.

"I am sure Bagan will appeal. But rules have been laid down clearly and it's the same for everyone," he added.

The decision was taken by the I-League Core Committee, which also declared all of the club's matches in the "I-League Competition 2012-2013 cancelled and considered null and void".

The decision was based on the one-man committee, headed by Justice A K Ganguly's report.

The Kolkata giants had refused to take the field in thesecond half of their match against East Bengal citing 'security fears' after their key player, Syed Rahim Nabi, was hit on the face by a stone hurled from the stands.

Incidentally, Bhutia was himself suspended by the club for being irregular in practice sessions and skipping an exhibition match in 2009.

The club had then also claimed that Bhutia's participation in a dance reality show on television did no good to the its reputation.

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