They may have set the standards on how to run a football club, but the treatment Bengaluru FC have dished out to visiting teams has landed them in trouble. The defending I-League champions were fined Rs 2 lakh by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and asked to “improve organizational facilities” at home matches.
The federation’s disciplinary committee also slapped a Rs 2 lakh fine on Bengaluru coach Ashley Westwood for his improper conduct against Mumbai FC and Royal Wahingdoh. The committee also imposed a four-match ban each on Mumbai FC coach Khalid Jamil and Bengaluru FC assistant coach Pradyum Reddy for using abusive languages. Mumbai midfielder Amoes Do, who jumped into the stands after the match against Bengaluru FC at Kanteerava Stadium and indulged in a fight with the crowd, was fined Rs 50,000. Both Bengaluru and Mumbai FC officials are likely to appeal the decision taken by the disciplinary committee.
And in the long list of sanctions imposed by the federation on Thursday, Mumbai midfielder Dane Pereira was provisionally suspended for testing positive for banned substance in a dope test conducted by the National Anti Doping Agency. Pereira is only the second Indian footballer to be suspended for doping. Incidentally, the first footballer to test positive — Nishant Mehra — also belonged to Mumbai FC.
Pereira has been given a week’s time by the AIFF to come up with his defence and Mumbai FC too has launched an internal inquiry. The player has claimed innocence, insisting he was prescribed medicines to cure a knee injury he had suffered during the Indian Super League. “We have asked for his medical report and will then decide the future course of action,” a Mumbai FC official said.
The punishments handed out to Mumbai and Bengaluru coaches are a fallout of the ill-tempered match the two teams played last week. Both coaches were involved in an ugly spat near the touchline while Do had accused Reddy of abusing him.
However, a Bengaluru FC official denied the allegations. “As far as heckling by the crowd goes, we can’t stop that because it helps in creating an intimidating atmosphere. Of course, we have to beef up security and ensure a repeat of the Mumbai FC incident, where a bottle was thrown (aimed at the Mumbai dugout), isn’t repeated. But all other allegations are baseless. We adhere to norms set by the AFC and the AIFF,” the official said.