Since the final of the 2015 Indian Super League on December 20 last year between FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC, I have been looking forward to the judgement that the five member Regulatory Commission of the ISL would give on the incidences following the final whistle.
And I want to be very blunt on this matter. Whatever happened that night was disgraceful and unacceptable in football or in any sport for that matter, and tough punishment was needed to deter others from behaving in such a manner in the future. Also it was clear to me that taking Elano to the police was a no go, which asked for the harshest of all punishment, then what happens inside a stadium, on and off the field, that stays there and is not dragged to the police or courts. That line was crossed by some of the FC Goa officials and whatever good they have done for Indian football in the past, which they surely have, that does not count in such an instance.
Now the verdict is out and the punishment is quite steep, some say harsh, but the judgement is out and one can now debate if it is correct or not.
But there is one more thing to note. FC Goa’s claims that they were the victims of the league, the referee and everyone involved, even claiming the match was fixed against them, was vindicated by the television footage that NDTV aired earlier this week.
The punishment is quite severe, but with an appeal likely to happen, some of the punishment could be watered down but it needs to be a deterrent from similar behaviour in the future.
The combination of the 15 points penalty and 11 crores fine means FC Goa even before the start of the ISL-3 are out of the race to make it into the semifinals, while the 10 crores fine and 1 crore payment to Chennaiyin FC as compensation looks like the franchise will then have to consider of running the team on a smaller budget in 2016 to save costs and not waste money as qualifying for the semifinals looks out of question.
On the other side, the ISL needs to understand that it is about the sport and in the league’s interest, owners should be kept out of any ceremonies especially after such finals, where tempers can be an issue.