Kerala Blasters have been fined ₹4 crore by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for "walking off the pitch and thereby forfeiting" their ISL eliminator vs Bengaluru FC at the Kanteerava stadium on March 3, 2023.
The Blasters have also been asked to issue a public apology for "this unsporting conduct of abandoning the match" failing which the fine will be increased to ₹6 crore. Blasters' head coach Ivan Vukomanovic has also been penalised with a 10-match ban/suspension from AIFF held tournaments and a fine of ₹5 lakh.
The ban is irrespective of whichever team he is contracted with, and includes a ban from being a part of the dressing room or the team bench. He was accused of "the offence of abandonment and bringing the game into disrepute, and apparently instigated the team for discontinuing the encounter."
Vukomanovic has also been asked to issue a public apology, failing which his fine will be increased to ₹10 lakhs.
�� AIFF Disciplinary Committee issues order on abandoned Hero ISL tie ��#IndianFootball ⚽
- Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) March 31, 2023
The order was passed by the AIFF Disciplinary Committee, under Article 9.1.2 of the AIFF disciplinary code in a meeting held on Friday, March 31.
Both the Blasters and Vukomanovic have a week to comply with this order, however they have the right to appeal against the same.
Earlier, in March, Vukomanovic had led his Blasters team off the Kanteerava pitch after Sunil Chhetri had taken a freekick quickly before the defensive wall (and goalkeeper) had been set. The club Blasters had subsequently filed a protest to the AIFF against referee Crystal John's decision to let the goal stand.