Dec 29 2012, 5:11am CST | by Luigi Lugmayr
New Delhi, Dec 29 — India's oldest soccer club, Mohun Bagan, was Saturday kicked out of the I-League and banned from the next two editions by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for abandoning a match against East Bengal mid-way Dec 9 after crowd trouble.
The I-League core committee met here and endorsed the report submitted by the one-man committee of A.K. Ganguly, a retired Supreme Court Judge. The committee was set-up by AIFF president Praful Patel.
Mohun Bagan, founded in 1889, and the AIFF had presented their case to Ganguly during a hearing that lasted over five hours Monday. Ganguly submitted his report Wednesday.
Mohun Bagan were trailing 0-1 against their arch-rivals in the Kolkata derby of I-League when their player Syed Rahim Nabi, in the 43rd minute, was hit on the face by a stone hurled from the crowd at the packed Salt Lake Stadium.
Police had to lathi-charge to bring a 95,000 strong crowd under control. Play resumed after 15 minutes but Mohun Bagan refused to come out in the second half.
Ganguly said Mohun Bagan's decision not to play the Kolkata match after interval can't be supported on the grounds of Force Majeure, and that the club had breached Regulation 22 of the I-League.
Patel did not attend the meeting and in his absent vice-president A.R.Khaleel presided and chaired the committee.
According Regulation 22, Mohun Bagan will withdraw from this season, all its matches in the 2012-13 have been cancelled and considered null and void, they are also disqualified from taking part in the next two editions of the I-League, will return any financial stipends paid by the I-League for the 2012-13 season.
AIFF's senior vice-president Subrata Dutta told IANS that Mohun Bagan have been banned in accordance with I-League rules and regulations.
"Mohun Bagan have been suspended from this year's league and will also be banned from the next two editions. The steps were taken in accordance with the report submitted by Mr. Ganguly," said Dutta.
The I-League core committee will again meet Jan 9 to decide if the quantum of punishment imposed on Mohun Bagan is enough or if additional fine and suspension were needed.
Mohun Bagan are one of the oldest football clubs in India. It is the first Indian club to win the IFA Shield final in 1911 beating East Yorkshire Regiment.
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