KOLKATA: Real Kashmir FC (RKFC) captain Mason Robertson on Monday appealed to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for an immediate revocation of his four-match ban and fine of Rs 2 lakh imposed on him on charges of abusing the referee in an I-League match.
Mason, along with his father David Robertson, who is the head coach of the club, were on Saturday suspended for four matches and fined Rs 2 lakh each for abusing the referee in “filthy vulgar languages” during their I-League game against Indian Arrows at Mohun Bagan ground here on February 4.
The four-match ban would mean that Mason, who doubles up as striker and defender, will miss RKFC’s remaining four play-off games.
In a five-page appeal to the Appellate Committee of the AIFF, Mason said he had used that “abusive” comment as a “figure of speech and was not directed to any individual”.
Aggrieved by the decision of the AIFF Disciplinary Committee, he said the comment was “misconceived, contrary to law and cannot be sustained” and hence should be “revoked immediately”.
Detailing out the grounds of his appeal, he said: “Communication between the appellant, being the captain of the team and his coach could not have been subject matter of disciplinary proceedings as the same was not addressed to the match referee or match officials.”
Mason also said that the outburst was a result of the huge mental pressure they are suffering from because of the bio-bubble restrictions and pointed out that he “does not have any track record of indiscipline throughout his footballing career.”
“The comments made by the appellant to the coach was a figure of speech which is usually a way the people of Scotland speak in order to vent their frustration,” it stated.
“The allegations made against the appellant in the show-cause notice does not tantamount to misconduct under the Disciplinary Code of AIFF.
“The decision has not taken into consideration the relevant factors and have decided the issue on irrelevant factors, thereby coming to a perverse conclusion…
“The punishment imposed by the Disciplinary Committee is disproportionate to the charges levelled against the appellant. Decision of the Disciplinary Committee otherwise bad in law and cannot be sustained. Considering the present situation, the punishment imposed against the appellant should be revoked immediately.”
He has sought an instant stay on the order so as to enable him to play the next few matches for RKFC.
The Snow Leopards, who are the first club from Kashmir to compete in any first division football league in the country, are placed third and yet to open the account in the Championship standings, having lost to Churchill Brothers 1-2 on March 5.
They next face Championship leaders TRAU FC here on March 10.
RKFC had finished third behind Churchill Brothers and Punjab FC in the first phase.
Meanwhile, RKFC fans in Srinagar have expressed their solidarity and carried out a demonstration, urging the AIFF to revoke Mason’s ban.
Fans Of Real Kashmir Gather In Srinagar, Demonstrate Against Banning Of Coach And Captain
Fans of Real Kashmir Football Club, which has gained a lot of popularity in Kashmir valley, have expressed their disappointment over a decision of the All India Football Federation’s disciplinary committee to ban club coach David Robertson and his son for four matches.
The fans gathered outside the headquarters of the club here in solidarity with the team which is playing I-League in Kolkata and stands at number four in the table as of now.
Robertson and his son Mason Robertson, who plays as a centre back, were on Saturday suspended for four matches and fined Rs 2 lakh each for allegedly abusing the referee in their I-League game against Indian Arrows on March 4.
Kaisar Ahmad, a supporter of Real Kashmir, said this was a harsh decision taken by the committee.
“Real Kashmir is the top most club in Kashmir. It emerged one among top clubs within a few years. This decision has left us totally disappointed. It was because of Real Kashmir that so many children are playing football these days in Kashmir. It is shocking that such a decision has been taken by AIFFDC,” he added.
Wearing an RKFC uniform, Adnan Ahmad said it is surprising that the club has four more matches to be played in the ongoing I-League. “Banning the head coach and captain is a very unfortunate decision. AIFFDC should reconsider this decision for the fans of Real Kashmir,” he said.
The Real Kashmir management said they have already appealed for revocation of the ban. “We hope AIFFDC would reconsider it for larger interests of the same,” the RK management said.
“The Committee imposed sanctions of suspension of four matches upon Mr David Robertson, the coach of ‘Real Kashmir FC’ and his son Mr Mason Robertson (jersey No 3) of ‘Real Kashmir FC’…,” the Committee said in its judgment.
“… both of them are also to pay a fine of Rs 2 lakh each to be paid forthwith and until such payment in full, both to remain barred as per Article 21 of the Code, notwithstanding four-match suspensions.”
The AIFF disciplinary committee consists of chairman Ushanath Banerjee, Haresh Vora, Madhav Milan Ghosh and Adithya Reddy.
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