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Posted at: Dec 6, 2018, 2:28 AM; last updated: Dec 6, 2018, 2:28 AM (IST)

Minerva FC banned for 3 yrs

Found guilty of fielding overage players in the Administrator’s Cup final against CFA
Minerva FC banned for 3 yrs
The Minerva FC squad which played in the 16th All-India Administrator’s Cup in September. File photo

Deepankar Sharda

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5

The UT Sports Department has slapped three-year suspension on defending I-League champions Minerva Punjab FC for fielding overage players in the 16th All-India Administrator’s U-17 Challenge Cup final against Chandigarh Football Club (CFA).

The ban will restrict Minerva FC from participating in the Administrator’s Cup for the next three years.

The Sports Department will now also hand over the winners’ trophy and the cash award of Rs 3 lakh to the CFA.

In the final, played on September 30, Minerva FC had registered a 2-0 win over the hosts CFA. However, soon after the match, the CFA management lodged a formal complaint against the winners, accusing them of fielding three overage players in the title clash.    

It was alleged that two players from Manipur and one from Punjab had tampered with their date of birth records. After two months of due diligence by the organisers, it was established that one of the Manipur players, name withheld, was overage. Subsequently, a decision was taken to suspend the Punjab-based club for three years.   

Minerva FC, however, escaped the Rs 1-lakh fine which is mandated under Article 15(2) of the Administrator’s Cup for fielding overage players. Asked for the reason, the officials concerned maintained silence.

Meanwhile, the Minerva management claimed that it had not received any official communication from the organisers regarding the suspension. The club threatened to challenge the decision in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and alleged that the authorities concerned had taken the decision to promote their own team.

“Unofficial reports of Minerva FC being banned for fielding overage players appear to be an attempt by the administration to award the trophy to its own team. Minerva Punjab has not received any communication regarding any such action or decision taken by the tournament committee,” the club stated.

Minerva FC also alleged that they had filed a counter complaint against one of the CFA players. However, the authorities said the complaint was not filed within the stipulated time of two hours, as mandated under the rules.

Minerva’s strategy backfires

Interestingly, Minerva Punjab had reached the semifinals of the 16th Administrator’s Cup after accusing Tata Football Academy (TFA) of fielding overage players in their quarterfinal tie. The TFA had won the match 1-0, but were suspended from the tournament after Minerva claims were found correct. Last year also, after losing the semifinal against Cordia Southall United, Minerva FC had submitted a similar complaint against their opponents and scraped into the final.

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