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Under-23 controversy: Mohun Bagan form fact finding committee

WITH THEIR WIN AGAINST TOLLYGUNGE in major geopardy due to a rule violation, Mohun Bagan have formed a 3-member fact finding committee to find out how such a mistake was committed, and how to proceed for the hearing with IFA so that their 3 points can be saved. 

The committee consists of the club's football secretary and ex player Satyajit Chattopadhyay, co-secretary Srinjoy Bose and financial secretary Debashish Dutta. The decision was taken after the club's technical committee heard team manager Debashish Dutta's version of Friday's events. 

The controversy started when Mohun Bagan coach substituted Azharuddin Mallick on the 90th minute, leaving no officially recognized Under-23 on the pitch. The IFA rules mandate that every team must have at least one Under-23 player on the field of play at all times, wearing a special armband to identify them. 

Usually this means the match is awarded to the opponent team, with a 3-0 margin. But according to the Mohun Bagan officials, the IFA rulebook for Calcutta Football League mentions the Under-23 rule but does not specify the punishment, meaning its extent is open to negotiations. Bagan officials are sparing no effort to save those points.

But rumours are flying all around the Maidan that the controversy was a pre-planned act to make sure Tollygunge Agragami, a club belonging to the state's acting sports minister Arup Biswas, got all 3 points from the match. Even ex Bagan player and coach Subrata Bhattacharya has voiced such suspicions. Mohun Bagan club official Anjan Dutta has dismissed the allegations, 

"We don't do despicable things like this. We can't... we believe in playing for the win. That's why when before the match with Army XI it turned out our jerseys were similar and they did not have a second set, we agreed to switch to our away kits. We could have gotten 3 points without playing that day if we wanted. But we chose to play."

The IFA is supposed to call a board meeting to discuss the issue. The decision on the matter is expected to come towards the end of the CFL season.

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