Kerala Blasters and head coach Ivan Vukomanovic expressed regret over the club’s walkout in the Indian Super League (ISL) playoff walkout against Bengaluru FC last month.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) Disciplinary Committee had on Friday issued a fine on the club of Rs 4 crore, while Vukomanovic was handed a fine of Rs 4 Lakh fine and a 10-game ban.
Vukomanovic in a statement said, “It has been a couple of weeks since we were all caught by negative circumstances that happened on 3rd March this year during our last game. It is certainly devastating to all football fans to witness and see such a thing. The emotion and love input in this beautiful game by fans, players, technical & medical staffs, media, etc. around the globe is priceless, and no one deserves nor wants to be actor of such an event.
“These things are not supposed to be seen in sport arenas around the world and | regret being part of such a moment. As a man of sport and football, | was always promoting correct conduct and fair play. These are without a doubt, some of the most important values of football game, and most of all, parts of sport education that we all have to pass to our future generations.”
The AIFF Disciplinary Committee’s order on Friday also said Vukomanovic had instigated the team to abandon the match and brought the game into disrepute.
After hearing all the parties concerned, the AIFF Disciplinary Committee – chaired by Vaibhav Gaggar – also directed the Blasters to issue a ‘public apology’ for the unsporting conduct of abandoning the match, failing which the total fine would be increased to Rs 6 crore.
Despite the walkout, there was a huge wave of support for Blasters from their fans – the club is the team with the biggest fan base in the ISL.
The Blasters’ walkout happened after a hotly-disputed goal scored by Bengaluru’s Sunil Chhetri off a freekick. The Kochi-based club had filed a protest to the AIFF earlier against referee Crystal John for the manner in which he allowed Chhetri to take the freekick that resulted in the goal. But it was rejected.
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