ISL 2020-21 news: 'It's bordering on the cheating for us' - SCEB coach Robbie Fowler on refereeing

ISL 2020: SC East Bengal coach Robbie Fowler tore into the Indian Super League's referees yet again after his side's goalless draw with Chennaiyin FC on Tuesday.

Robbie Fowler was involved a war of words with the host broadcaster's analyst Pradhyum Reddy.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

SC East Bengal coach Robbie Fowler tore into the Indian Super League's (ISL 2020-21) referees yet again after his side's goalless draw with Chennaiyin FC on Tuesday.

The Liverpool legend's latest outburst came after his team was reduced to 10 men following Ajay Chhetri's double booking.

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"I am delighted with the resilience and attitude of our players. I am massively disappointed with referee's performance again. We've had a lot of injustice again. I'm not saying he (Ajay Chhetri) didn't deserve to be sent off, but our players were getting kicked left, right and centre and the referee didn't want to put his hand in his pocket for a yellow card. We have good players and the ISL should have good players but when they get kicked they won't want to come over here because they're not being looked after. It's bordering on disgraceful sometimes [the refereeing decisions]. I am mentally exhausted because I am fighting battles with the referees every single game. It's an absolute joke. We can't keep doing this," he said.


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He added, "He probably did deserve the second yellow card, but not the first one. It was actually our ball for a throw-in so he was probably not in the wrong frame of mind. We are used to it now because we've had no decisions from any referees this year. We play Mumbai City on Friday and we know what to expect...we won't be getting any decisions again because that's what it's like."

Ajay Chhetri

Ajay Chhetri's first SC East Bengal start was cut short as he was sent off after picking up two yellow cards in the ISL 2020-21 clash against Chennaiyin FC on Monday.   -  ISL/Sportzpics


When the official broadcaster's analyst and former FC Pune City and Hyderabad FC coach Phil Brown pointed out the standard of refereeing has improved, Fowler quipped, "That's improved? Wow."

When asked by Brown if his side was "walking the line" as it already had three red cards against it, Fowler said, "I know what you’re saying and quite rightly so, we have got that spirit and I think you need it here. But again, some decisions are awful. The first red card (in our campaign) Eugeneson (Lyngdoh) should not have been sent off. Daniel Fox’s was not a red card and that was rescinded. The fact is it was rescinded, full stop. The one today was a yellow for the second one, but the first one was not a yellow.

"I don’t want to complain how you should give this player or that player a yellow because that’s not what we should be doing as coaches anyway. But you find yourself doing that because we’re not getting any help. We’re trying to say to the ref 'look this is what's happened’. A few players persistently foul our players and as soon as our players go near the opposition players the referee is unbelievably quick to get a yellow card out. It’s quite frightening. I’m not calling them cheats, I’m not saying that, I think it’s bordering on the cheating for us. It’s not right and can’t be going on. We are not getting any help from referees," he said.

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Fowler also launched into a tirade against the official broadcaster's analyst and former FC Pune City head coach Pradhyum Reddy. 

When Reddy asked if he was embarrassed about East Bengal bench's behaviour, Fowler defended their actions. "Why should we be embarrassed? We feel we have to help them get the decisions, because they have been appalling. The fourth official is quick to come over to our bench when the other bench is saying the same thing. It's quick enough for you to talk about our behaviour. It's [the question] absolutely disgraceful and ridiculous.

"Have a little bit of respect for us as well if we think we are hard done by. You come and stand in these shoes and see some of the decisions we get. We are not getting looked after and it's rich from you to say that 'you should be appalled'. I will look at the record and see some of your history to see if you have taken it on board and I bet you haven't! I want to look after my team and players and if they aren't looked after by the referees then it's up to us to do something," said Fowler.


Action from the Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) clash between Chennaiyin FC and SC East Bengal.   -  ISL/Sportzpics


When Reddy referred to the audible abusive language heard from the touchline, Fowler said, "I swear and a lot of the staff swear but it's an adult game. We are passionate and we want our team to win. And if we feel we are hard done by then are going to try and argue and have debates with referees. I apologise to people back home if they heard us swear but you know what it's a man's game and we are playing at a level where people do swear. And I apologise if people are offended by that but it's the referee and fourth official's decisions that's making us swear and bring out that attitude."

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