Blasters Protest Against AIFF by Pausing the Women’s Team

Kerala Blasters announced a ‘temporary pause’ for their women’s team after AIFF fined them for forfeiting an ISL game last season.

Kerala Blasters announced a temporary pause of its women’s team, which was formed in July last year and plays in the Kerala Women’s League, on Tuesday due to fines imposed by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) after forfeiting an Indian Super League (ISL) game last season.

This comes after the AIFF Appeal Committee rejected Kerala Blasters’ appeal against the Rs 4 crore fine imposed for misconduct and abandonment of their game against Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League play-offs back in March. The committee also rejected Ivan Vukumanovic’s appeal against the fine of Rs 5 lakh and the 10-game ban imposed on him.

Official statement from Kerela Blaster

“It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the temporary pause of our Women’s Team. This decision has been necessitated by the recent financial sanctions imposed on our club by the football federation. While we respect the authority and decisions of the federation, we cannot deny our disappointment at the impact it is likely to have across various functions of our Club,” Kerela Blaster wrote in a statement.

Previous ruling

In its initial decision on March 31, 2023, the AIFF 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.

In its appeal, the club argued for levity with regards 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 would be removed entirely upon review by the AIFF Appeal Committee.

Words from the Appeal Committee

In its decision on June 2, 2023, the Appeal Committee said, “The appeal of the appellant team is denied, and 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.”

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