Court of Arbitration for Sports rejects Kerala Blasters appeal

Kerala Blasters

Indian Super League (ISL) team, Kerala Blasters faced a significant setback. Their appeal to the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the All India Football Federation (AIFF) sanction was unsuccessful.

What happened in the Kerala Blasters case?

The dispute arose from an incident during an ISL match against Bengaluru FC. Following a controversial refereeing decision that allowed Sunil Chhetri to score from a free kick in the fourth minute of extra time, Kerala Blasters’ coach, Ivan Vukomanovic, instructed the team to abandon the match. This action was viewed as a serious violation of the principles of fair play, respect, and integrity.

The AIFF’s disciplinary committee charged Vukomanovic with “bringing the game into disrepute” and imposed a hefty fine of Rs 4 crore on Kerala Blasters. In addition, Vukomanovic was handed a 10-game ban. Kerala Blasters appealed this decision, arguing that the ethics rules of the AIFF and ISL did not permit the management to contact the team, asking to reverse the decision to boycott.

KBFC appealed to the appeals committee, but they overruled the appeal stating the fine was an “appropriate penalty” for the forfeit. Now they have also lost the CAS appeal. This was only the second ever professional football match that has been abandoned, the other incident occurring in 2012 during a match between East Bengal FC and Mohun Bagan.

The club has been instructed to pay the fine within two weeks, and also reimburse AIFF for the legal fees it incurred in fighting the case. The decision of the CAS, which is the world’s premier forum for resolving sporting disputes, reflects the seriousness of the violation committed by Kerala Blasters.

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