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Mohammedan Sporting sack head coach Yan Law amidst controversy

DESPITE MOHAMMEDAN SPORTING'S near perfect start to their I-League Qualifiers campaign, things are not quite that good in the Black Panthers camp.

Yan Law, the club's head coach, has left his post out of the blue after they beat ARA FC 4-1 this afternoon. This, coupled with their win over Garhwal FC on Thursday, put MSC firmly at the top of the points table with 6 points from 2 matches.

A head coach resigning at a time when he has a 100% win record for the club is surprising, and it soon became clear that his departure came under less than ideal circumstances. Mohammedan Sporting, in their statement, said Law had been "terminated with immediate effect" while the young coach had earlier claimed to have resigned.

Signs of a growing rift between Mohammedan Sporting officials and a section of their players & staff became visible recently when some club officials took issue with Ranjit Bajaj, former owner of Punjab FC, staying in the same hotel as the Mohammedan Sporting team.

Speaking to some Bengali newspapers, club officials expressed suspicion that Bajaj had tried to "influence" the former Punjab FC players & staff who are currently in MSC. A report on the subject speculated about 'match fixing' (or the fear of it) being an issue the club was taking seriously.

A number of Mohammedan players including Kingsley, Himanshu Jangra Munmun Lugun and Samuel Shadap (who started against Garhwal FC, and in Munmun's case scored the winning goal) are former Punjab FC players. Head coach Yan Law, too, was at Punjab FC last season. THe officials after discussing the matter decided to bench the players. They were even unsure about whether Yan Law should be allowed to be on the bench during today's game. In the end, though, Yan Law was duly present as the team's head coach during the game, hours before announcing his departure.

Ranjit Bajaj, however, has denied any allegations, saying he was in Kolkata for his club Delhi FC's trials. According to him, he was staying on a different floor of the hotel than the players and never met any player or staff since they are not allowed contact with outsiders due to COVID-19 related protective measures.

It remains to be seen if Mohammedan Sporting clarify the reasons behind their decisions to bench the former Punjab FC players and sack their coach, including whether any specific incident took place involving Bajaj and the players/staff that raised their suspicions of foul play.

Incidentally, this is not the first time an Indian club has fired a head coach amidst allegations of match fixing this year. Back in January, TRAU FC sacked Dimitrius Dimitrou while the club's official Facebook account hinted at match fixing being the cause, although nothing was subsequently proven.


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