The All India Football Federation (AIFF) Appeal Committee, headed by its chairperson Akshay Jaitly on Friday rejected Kerala Blasters FC's appeal against the Rs 4 crore fine imposed on them for misconduct and abandonment of their game against Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League playoffs on March 3, 2023.
"The committee also rejected Ivan Vukomanovic's appeal against the fine of Rs 5 lakh and a 10-game ban imposed on him. In both cases, the Appeal Committee upheld the earlier decisions of the Disciplinary Committee," AIFF said in a statement.
AIFF stated in a statement that both Kerala Blasters and the coach are required to pay the respective fines within two weeks.
"In its initial decision on March 31, 2023, the Disciplinary Committee had also stated that the club and the coach needed to make public apologies, in the absence of which the fines would be increased to Rs 6 crore and Rs 10 lakh, respectively," the statement further added.
In its appeal, the club had argued for levity with regard to the fine and asked that it be reduced to the minimum amount for abandoning the match. Vukomanovic's appeal said that the fine and the ban be removed entirely upon review by the Appeal Committee.
In its decision on Friday, the Appeal Committee said, "The appeal of the appellant team is denied and that Kerala Blasters FC is instructed to pay the fine of Rs. 4 crore imposed by the Disciplinary Committee."
On the appeal made by Ivan Vukomanovic, the Appeal Committee said, "This Committee holds that the appeal of the Appellant Coach is denied and that Mr. Ivan Vukomanovic is instructed to pay the fine of Rs. 5 Lakh and serve the suspension for 10 matches and the ban from being a part of the team dressing room and team bench, irrespective of the team he is contracted with. Any match for which such suspension and ban have already been served shall count towards compliance with this decision."
On March 3, the Kerala Blasters stormed off the pitch, saying that Sunil Chhetri's winning score from an extra time freekick was not "legitimate."
They alleged that the whistle was not blown by referee Crystal John before Chhetri attempted the kick and that the players were not prepared. Bengaluru FC were adjudged 1-0 victors and went to the ISL semifinals thanks to their extra-time advantage. (ANI)