Kerala Blasters FC suffered a big blow as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) rejected their appeal against Rs 4 crore fine on Friday, June 2. KBFC, India's one of most popular football clubs, caused a big controversy when they walked out from the Indian Super League 2023 (ISL) game against Bengaluru FC on March 3 before the referee's full-time whistle.
On March 31, AIFF Disciplinary Committee slapped a Rs 6 crore fine on the team and Rs 10 lakh on head coach Ivan Vukomanovic for leading the players to abandon the game. Kerala Blasters asked the committee to impose a reduced fine in their appeal. But the Appeal Committee denied their request and instructed the club to pay a Rs 4 crore fine imposed by the Disciplinary Committee.
“The appeal of the appellant team is denied and that Kerala Blasters FC is instructed to pay the fine of Rs. 4 crore imposed by the Disciplinary Committee,” the AIFF's Appeal Committee said in their statement.
Ivan Vukomanovic was initially fined Rs 10 lakh and a 10-match ban. But the Serbian manager appealed to the committee to remove both the fine and ban completely in his request. The committee reduced the fine to Rs 5 lakh but held his decision to ban the head coach for 10 matches.
"This Committee holds that the appeal of the Appellant Coach is denied and that Mr. Ivan Vukomanovic is instructed to pay the fine of Rs. 5 lakh and serve the suspension for 10 matches and the ban from being a part of the team dressing room and team bench, irrespective of the team he is contracted with. Any match for which such suspension and ban have already been served shall count towards compliance with this decision,” Appeal Committee added.
Bengaluru FC's star forward Sunil Chhetri scored a quick free-kick goal in extra time to clinch a 96-minute winner against Kerala Blasters at Bengaluru's Sree Kanteerava Stadium on March 3. A goal took Kerala Blasters players by surprise as they were still preparing to get in line to defend the free-kick. Players and Vukomanovic were gutted at Referee for allowing Chhetri's goal and then walked out off the pitch to abandon the game before the full-time whistle.