Mohun Bagan, had been banned for abandoning its I-League derby against East Bengal last December, citing security concerns. The I-League core committee of the AIFF endorsed the decision of Justice AK Ganguly. In his report, the judge concluded that Mohun Bagan's decision not to play the second half could not be supported on the grounds of force majeure. Football analyst Novy Kapadia joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on whether the I-League ban on Mohun Bagan will affect the sport of football in a country that is cricket-crazy.
Q. Unfortunately, no one cares about Indian football. The day the incident happened, all news channels went on breaking news, but since then the story vanished. Novy, what exactly have you done yourself to further the cause in media? Asked by: Mohd Irfan
A. I have written three article in Deccan Chronicle and Asian age where I have football columns on Dec, 15, 22 and January 6, Main themes of my articles are that decision should be reviewed and AIFF should not rigidly follow a rule which is too Harsh and should be reviewed. There were mitigating circumstances for Bagan. Ban the officials but not the club. Have also tried talking to AIFF officials but they remain stubborn and take refuge in Article 22. If there has been TV chat shows I would have participated but with Paksitan cricket team touring that was like asking for the moon. We are a one game country. On AIR FM Sports scan shows I have twice spoken that clemency for Bagan is the best solution.
Q. Novy, Lien can be taken.. which Abhra Mandol took last year from EB to Pune .. will MB have funds to pay the footballers... as income will reduce.. also when in the review meeting of AIFF.. Asked by: Sarada Sil
A. Yes, lien can be taken. But Bagan may make it a prestige issue. Revie meeting of AIFF is on January 15. If ban is reduced I do not think they will let players go. Also to include Odafe and Tolgay some clubs will have to drop one foreigner. Bagan may not what Odafe or tolgay to return to main rivals East Bengal so who knows.
Q. Had AIFF cleared what will happen to the existing MB players.. Are other clubs taking Nabi, Tolgay and Odafa's Asked by: Sarada Sil
A. Clubs can only take Nabi, Tolgay and Odafe if Bagan releases them. That may not happen. It will also make I-League a joke if these players participate for two teams in the same league.
Q. But on your answer about the AIFF...why cant they seem to be moving out of their state of inertia....Montenegro is leading their group in World Cup qualifiers and we are in low 150's...surely there has to be enough talent waiting to be harnessed. Asked by: Diggy
A. India is not 150 they are 166. Sadly there is no talent to be harnessed because the game is confined to a few small states like Goa and North east. it is on the decline in Bengal also. The AIFF have to try and spread the game all over India, forget about vote bank politics then only the gamer will improve. Clubs in India are shutting down regularly there is no outlet for senior football that is why the decline.
Q. Sad day for Football in India, whatever is left of it sir. This was a team that we enjoyed watching, for a long time? This may dent the already poor interest that we have for this great game. Should we have league like IPL to revive it? Asked by: Narayan
A. Very, very sad day. If Bagan is banned for two years more I think it will be the death knell of Indian football. No TV channels or sponsors will show interest in Indian football. India's debry match East Bengal vs Mohun Bagan is ranked by FIFA amongst the top 50 derby game sin the world. People look to Indian football because of this match. Now we will not have this match anymore. IPL will not work in Indian football because FIFA has strong transfer rules. Players cannot play in several clubs in one season like in cricket. Only retired players like Robbie Fowler and maybe Cannavraro will come. Also unlike cricket where India is a top ranked nation. India's football ranking is 166-68. So no decent players will wHat to come.
Q. Novy, so do you think Praful Patel should be sacked, and instead, a group of former players and corporates with knowledge of marketing the game should be brought instead? And what about the CEO Kushal Das? What these guys are doing is ruining Indian football even more? Asked by: Byomkesh
A. Praful Patel is democratically elected so we cannot sack anybody. The CEO is Sunando Dhar. Kushal das is General Secreatry who has a good sports background. he has worked for TWI/IMG and ICC. Many do believe that if a former player of stature like SS Hakeem or Chuni Goswami or Bruno continue were CEO of the I-League, Bagan officials would have listened to them more. AIFF's probelms is they are just keen on getting U-17 world to India and following diktats of AFC. They are fogeting ground reality of Indian football.
Q. What are the options before AIFF Now? Can they review it.. at any case.. 2012-2013 is gone.. even if they play next year in 2nd division.. That is also a big set back.. Asked by: Sarada Sil
A. To save Indian football, AIFF must review their decision and not take refuge behind vague rules. Due to circumstances rule scan be changed also. It does seem they will have to re-start from 2nd division but hopefully from next season and not three seasons later. My fear in that case their fan base will decline and sponsors will pull away and MB will become like Mohd Spt living in the past.
Q. Novy does it make sense this ban.......there was provocation..you have an incident where AC MIlan walked off when Boateng was racially abused..the footballing community apart from Blatter have applauded that...here a player was hit..what does the AIFF want..a player to be critically hurt for them to abandon the match? Asked by: Diggy
A. Yes I agree. We must also remember that in 1980 during a similar high voltage EB vs MB clash in Eden Gardens, there was a fight in the stands and 16 fans were killed. Bagan officials had that incident in mind when they aske dthe players to withdraw. Also Diggy it is poor management to leave debris on the ground which can be used as missiles. IFA and local Police is to blame also. Again why organise India's most high voltage match in any sport on the last day of India vs England cricket match. Okay India oblige dby losing on the 5th morning. But the Police were stretched. The AIFF is hiding their own faults in organisation by banning Bagan.
Q. So does the AIFF stand show what ails football in the country, an unwillingness to change when he world has moved on..its like AIFF playing big brother Asked by: Diggy
A. Yes, AIFF is playing big brother. Some sources it is a personality clash between some AIFF officials and Bagan officials. Typical Indian situation. Ego triumphs over the needs of the game. Even juventus were not banned for two years for match fixing a much more serious crime.
Q. The decision was taken by club officials. Why should the players suffer? Asked by: Arnab
A. Yes I agree with you suspend Anjan Mitra, debashish dutta and others for life. Punish Odafe if his gestures were inflammatory. But not the whole club. We are killing the goose that lays the golden egg.
Q. Don't you think the ban was a little harsh and also affect the players of the club? Asked by: Moiz Akbar
A. Yes the ban is very harsh. In 2005, three Iranian clubs walked out of their respective matches due to harsh refereeing decisions. The Iranian FA fined, them they had to default that match and coach suspended. But they could continue playing, same happened in china a year later. AIFF is needlessly behaving in a holier than thou attitude.
Q. Novy, don't you think that its the administration that needs cleansing too. What exactly has Praful Patel done while heading the AIFF? And can you please clarify whether AIFF actually sold TV rights to Ten Sports or is it a free - barter deal? Asked by: Byomkesh
A. Absolutely the AIFF has done little to spread football in the country. In fact for the sake of Indian football popularity they should reduce Mohun Bagan's ban. Regards Ten Action football deal, difficult to comment but doing commentary from Dubai is obviously not spreading the popularity of Indian football as the commentators know little about Indian football even though their knowledge of the game is good.
Q. As one of the very few clubs in Indian football which have a large supporter base, don't you think this is going to affect the sport? Asked by: Indranil Hajra
A. Yes certainly it will affect Indian football. If Bagan's support declines, Indian football loses out. Only three teams in India are supporter based East Bengal and Mohun abd Shillong Lajong. if one of them declines spectator, sponsor and TV interest in indian football will further decline. AIFF should not be so rigid in their application of rules.
Q. It is safe to assume that Hussey retiring from test cricket would gather more attention than Mohun Bagan being banned from I-League. The only people affected in this whole fiasco are the players, fans of Mohun Bagan and the club owners. The audience for football is pretty minimal in most parts of the country. That is the tragedy of all "other" Indian Sports! Asked by: karthiksunkesul
A. Yes, that is the tragedy of all Indian sports. Media coverage is less and so it is a catch 22 situation. Tony Grieg's death got full page coverage whilst one of the all time great polo players of India, VP Singh died and got a one paragraph mention. Mohun Bagan have fans all over India. they are a cultural and sporting icon and if the ban for long continues it is the death knell of Indian football.