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Expressing serious concern at the unsavoury incidents that happened after the ISL final on Sunday, All India Football Federation president Praful Patel said he was awaiting the match commissioner’s report before cracking the whip on the wrongdoers.
“I am waiting for the match commissioner’s report. It was an unfortunate incident and absolutely unacceptable. Nobody has the right to hold the football law into his own hands,” said Patel at the Cooperage stadium on Monday.
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Patel was in the city to watch the practice match between the AIFF under-17 team that is preparing for the 2017 U-17 World Cup (to be hosted by India in two years’ time) and its state (WIFA) counterparts, said the federation needs to send a strong signal to the international football community by the course of action taken.
“We have to be firm and strict so that it does not impact the international community, whether it is referees or players, from participating in India. We are also governed by FIFA’s (world football governing body) code of conduct.
“If tomorrow, our player was to go and play in another country and something was to happen to him or the referee, what would be our situation? We have to take very strong measures.
“As I said I am awaiting the match commissioner’s report, which I expect to get by tomorrow. I am completely aghast at whatever has happened. I have reacted very strongly and also consult AFC and FIFA on the next course of action. Guidelines have been given and will act according to them,” Patel added.
‘Bharat FC have done a terrible thing’
Speaking about the I-League that starts on January 9, Patel said that Bharat FC, by pulling out of their second season, has done a disservice to Indian football.
“By participating in just one season they’ve done a terrible thing. It’s a disservice to football in the country. It was as though they came and went as casual visitors,” Patel said.
“When the Kalyani group requested us to put a team, we agreed because they are quite a formidable group. I never thought that they were going to pull out after just one season. But it’s a lesson for the future. We’re going to be very careful henceforth,” Patel said.
Bharat FC, the Pune-based team decided to shut shop after their lone season last year. They showed plenty of promise, signed big names, but still finished last in the league. And so they decided they had enough and shut shop.
Patel said that India are going to bid for the Club World Cup and the FIFA U-20 World Cup. “After getting the hosting rights for the U-17 World Cup, we’ve realised that this is a great time for Indian football. The more international events we get to host, the better for us. If we get the Club World Cup in 2017-18, and I’m confident we will, it doesn’t get better,” he said.