New Delhi: The two-year I-League ban has on Tuesday been lifted on Mohun Bagan. The All India Football Federation (AIFF), the governing body for the game in the country, has instead fined the iconic Kolkata-based club Rs 2 crore. Mohun Bagan will resume the season on 0 points.
"Mohun Bagan is a huge fan base club and it is a moral victory to all those supporters. It is a victory of football and without Mohun Bagan football will never be the same," said Gautam Sarkar, an ex-Mohan Bagan player.
Last month, the club was banned after being found guilty of refusing to come out after the first half against arch-rivals East Bengal in protest of an ugly incident during the violence-ridden derby at the Yuba Bharati Stadium in Kolkata on December 9. One of Mohun Bagan's star players, Syed Rahim Nabi, suffered a serious head injury after being hit with an object hurled from the stands. Following the incident, Bagan refused to play the second half citing security concerns.
Club secretary Anjan Mitra and financial secretary Debashis Dutta have been suspended by AIFF for the decision they took during the derby against East Bengal.
Star striker Odafa Okolie's future is still under clouds as he was shown a red card and will face punishment. Two former Mohun Bagan players, Manas Bhattacharya and Bidesh Bose, had collected signature of 8000 fans and on Monday met with AIFF officials in New Delhi. Over the last few days, Kolkata saw many protests in various places by thousands of mariners against the officials of the club and AIFF.