I-League champions Minerva Punjab FC owner Ranjit Bajaj was today banned for one year from all football activity and also fined Rs 10 lakh by the AIFF after the federation found him ‘guilty’ of making racist remarks against a referee. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) Disciplinary Committee today said this was the fourth offence committed by Bajaj within a span of a year.
The latest incident happened during Minerva’s Under-18 Youth League play-off match against Aizawl FC that ended in a 1-1 draw at JLN Stadium in Shillong on May 12. According to the disciplinary committee’s finding, Bajaj hurled racial comments and abuses against referee Pynskhemhame Mawthoh, who is of North East descent.
“The Committee holds Bajaj guilty of committing serious gross acts of infringements and imposes with a sanction of suspension of 12 months,” the disciplinary committee said in its 11-page report which is in possession of PTI. During the period of suspension, Bajaj will be “banned” from any football-related activities or entry into the stadium during any tournament held under the aegis of AIFF.
The fine of Rs 10 lakh has to be paid by Bajaj within a period of 10 days from the date of communication of this decision which was made yesterday. “In default of which, suspension and the ban shall continue for the delayed period over and above 12 months, till payment in full,” said AIFF disciplinary committee, chaired by Ushanath Banerjee, in the report.
Match commissioner Biswajit Mitra also gave his account of the details in the disciplinary committee report and concurred that Bajaj had hurled racial abuses, something the Minerva owner has denied.
“Bajaj acted like a criminal indulging in series of hooliganism, abusing the Match Officials in filthy language, threatening them openly, making racist remarks against the Match Officials. Certainly, none of these can be equated with an educated Guardian of a Sports Club,” it added.