AIFF bans Minerva owner Ranjit Bajaj for racial abuse

CHANDIGARH: Minerva Punjab’s owner Ranjit Bajaj has been banned for one year from all football activity and also fined Rs 10 lakh by the All Ind...

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CHANDIGARH: Minerva Punjab’s owner Ranjit Bajaj has been banned for one year from all football activity and also fined Rs 10 lakh by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) after the federation found him guilty of making racist remarks against a referee.bajaj

The incident happened during Minerva’s U-18 Youth League play-off match against Aizawl FC that ended in a 1-1 draw at the JLN Stadium in Shillong on May 12.

The AIFF Disciplinary Committee on Monday said this was the fourth offence committed by Bajaj within a span of year.

According to the disciplinary committee’s finding, Bajaj hurled racial comments and abuses against referee Pynskhemhame Mawthoh, who is of North East descent during the match.

Reacting to that ban, Bajaj told TOI that he was shocked with the sheer magnitude of the committee’s decision.

“First of all, I was sitting in the stand, I was not even in the dug out with the team. Honestly speaking I have not used any racial remarks towards the referee,” said Bajaj.

“My senior team coach Khogen Singh is from Manipur, my U-17 football players, who had represented India are from Manipur and there are so many kids in my academy who are from North East and they are accusing me that I have made racial slur against the match referee. I don’t know what to say I am just sad,” he added.

Bajaj further told TOI that he will appeal against his ban and said that match commissioner (Biswajit Mitra) had held a personal grudge against him when he had a heated argument with him regarding a theft which took place in the dressing room on May 10 during the match SAG Football Academy, Gujarat and Minerva Punjab.

“Mobile phones, jackets and shoes which are worth of Rs 1,09,700 belonging to players and officials of the SAG Football Academy were stolen from the dressing room. I told him that the match official that he need to up the level of security during the matches,” said Bajaj.

“I have put my all into my team and am unable to watch them play, even from the stands! I am even more concerned about my U-18 team. I mentor those kids, coach them, we are very close, and I cannot even take them out for matches,” he added.

The Committee holds Bajaj guilty of committing serious gross acts of infringements and imposes with sanction of suspension of 12 months,” the disciplinary committee said in its 11-page report.

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 on Sunday.
“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.