Will AIFF ban Kerala Blasters FC for abandoning play-off with Bengaluru FC in ISL?

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Kerala Blasters players arguing with referee for allowing the Bengaluru FC's goal

New Delhi: The Indian Super League authorities have made it clear that they will not hold a rematch of the play-off between Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC. Blasters had left the pitch during extra time of the match on Friday (March 3, 2023) claiming faulty refereeing. It also demanded the suspension of referee Crystal John who allowed the goal from a quick free kick by Sunil Chetri.

Meanwhile, the All India Football Federation's disciplinary committee has begun proceedings to decide on possible sanctions against the Blasters.

Under Article 58 of the AIFF Disciplinary Code (of 2021), dealing with "abandonment" of matches, Kerala Blasters could cough up a Rs 6 lakh fine and even may attract disqualification from a competition in progress and/or exclusion from a future competition.

In 2016, following a ruckus in the final match, ISL had fined FC Goa with Rs 11 crore. This is besides the fine of Rs 50 lakh by AIFF. Two co-owners of the team were banned for two seasons as well. FC Goa was docked 15 points the following season.

There have been several similar instances in world football as well and most of them resulted in hefty fines.

However, Blasters fans hope that ISL will not go for extreme actions like expelling the team from the League. As one of the major teams, Kerala has one of the best fan bases, ensuring a regular flow of income for the organisers of the event.

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