PRAJWAL OLI\\PRAKASH TIMALSINA
GANGTOK, Oct 29: Sikkim Football Association (SFA) has decided to re-conduct the quarterfinal match between Nabil Three Star Club and Bengal Mumbai FC played on Wednesday in the 32nd All India Governor´s Gold Cup Football Tournament underway in Gangtok, Sikkim.
Three Star had defeated Bengal Mumbai FC 1-0 in the match. The rematch is scheduled for Saturday.
The decision came after Bengal Mumbai filed a protest claiming that Ezee Collins, the African player fielded by Three Star, was a registered player with All India Football Federation (AIFF) and not with All Nepal Football Association. Probing the protest, SFA decided to re-conduct the match.
“We were bound to take this decision after Bengal Mumbai FC produced all the required evidences that showed Collins was registered with AIFF,” said Menla Ethenpa, the general secretary of both SFA and the main organizing committee.
Ethenpa added that they were generous in their decision. “Had we gone through the AIFF regulations we should have terminated the results, but considering the sentiments of the Sikkim denizens we have taken this decision,” Ethenpa said.
However, Three Star manager Krishna Bahadur Shrestha said that his side would better quit the tournament than play the rematch.
Three Star had fielded Collins in their squad on SFA Vice-president Karma P Bhutia´s suggestion after he analyzed that the finishing line-up of the team was weak.
Three Star claimed that they had become victims of a plot. “SFA Vice-president Bhutia suggested including Collins in the squad. Bhutia also contacted and called him to Gangtok after consultation with us, but now SFA has decided to re-conduct the match,” said Shreshta.
Meanwhile, Collins on Thursday also produced letter of clearance from George Telegraph, the Kolkata-based club he was registered with, dated October 25, 2010, which states that he has been cleared from responsibility as the player of the club.
Three Star have already started the process of getting the International Transfer Certificate of Collins and have corresponded with ANFA and AIFF to avoid the rematch. However, there is slim chance of the decision being changed.