Members of Sikkim Aakraman FC during a press conference Credit: EastMojo image 

Gangtok: The Sikkim Football Association (SFA) has imposed a ban of one year and fine of Rs 30,000 on Sikkim Aakraman FC (SAFC), its coach and three of its players for “manhandling a referee after a match”.

Announcing the disciplinary action against one of the finest local football clubs in Gangtok, SFA said, “SFA bans three SAFC players, coach and the team for a year along with fine of Rs30,000 as per regulation of SFA Premier Division S League.”

It has been alleged that supporters of SAFC manhandled the referee after a match against Sikkim Police at Paljor Stadium in Gangtok on on September 10.

Meanwhile, Subash Tamang, referee in charge of the match, terms the incident as a pre-planned attack on him. Demanding compensation and strict action against those involved in the incident, Tamang, while addressing media persons along with other members of the Sikkim Referee Board, said that he was assaulted by supporters of the SAFC while he was on his way to exit the stadium after the match.

“Had the assault took place during the match, I would have understood that it was the footballers’ anguish. But this assault was pre-planned and put me in a life-threatening situation,” Tamang said.

On the other hand, condemning the decision, the SAFC president Jigmee Singey, in a press conference, said, “In Sikkim, referees are often manhandled by various clubs and players due to their wrong and poor decisions. Our case was also similar. However, the players and the coach were not involved in the scuffle. Supporters showed their fury after the match, for which the club is not responsible.”

Karma Pintso, a member of the club management, criticised the SFA for making the issue personal as SAFC had earlier denied to release the players for Santosh Trophy.

“Among the eight S League teams, we were the only one which denied to release players as the league is on its peak and we were leading the points table. So we could not afford to release our players in such a short notice,” he added.

He further said that the SFA is trying to defame the club.

“According to rules, in such incidents the report of match commissioner should be taken. But unfortunately he was not present that day. The rules also allow the other party to keep their side of the story, which we did not get,” he said, adding: “The members of the club have already tendered their apology to the referee on behalf of their supporters.”

“We respect Sikkim football and support local referees but SFA needs to assign referees who are capable enough to handle match pressures and is experienced enough to give fair decisions on field to avoid such instances that have become a common trend in Sikkim football,” SAFC president added.

Members of Sikkim Referee Board in the press conference 

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