A day after the Kerala Blasters and their coach Ivan Vukomanovic were sanctioned by the All India Football Federation, the club and manager have expressed their regret over the incident that caused the decision.

At the Indian Super League playoff match between Bengaluru FC and the Blasters, the latter walked off the pitch at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in protest after Sunil Chhetri’s quickly-taken freekick was allowed to stand by referee Crystal John. In protest, Vukomanovic stepped onto the pitch and signalled his players to walk back to the dressing room despite there being another 24 minutes of play left in extra time of the match – both teams were tied at 0-0 at the end of regulation time.

ISL: Chhetri’s cheeky goal, KBFC’s crazy walkout – how an incredible night unfolded in Bengaluru

The AIFF’s Disciplinary Committee met on Sunday and imposed a fine of Rs 4 crore on the Blasters for the walkout along with a public apology. The sum that could be increased to Rs 6 crore should the team not adhere to the AIFF’s demands.

Late night on Sunday, the Blasters team published the apology through their official Twitter channel.

We would like to express our sincerest regrets for the events that took place during our knockout match vs Bengaluru FC on March 3rd, 2023. We recognise that our decision to walk off the pitch prematurely was unfortunate and taken in the heat of the moment.

We would like to reiterate our respect for the larger football fraternity and assure everyone that we will take necessary measures to prevent such incidents from happening again in the future.

— Kerala Blasters' statement

Additionally, Vukomanovic was handed a 10-match touchline and dressing room ban – whether he serves it out as a part of the Kerala Blasters team or any other ISL team that may contract him in the off season.

The 45-year-old was also directed to provide a public apology, along with a fine of Rs 5 lakhs (which could be doubled should he fail to adhere to the sanctions).

The Serbian however, also issued a statement on his Twitter account late on Sunday.

“These things are not supposed to be seen in sport arenas around the world and I regret being part of such a moment,” he wrote in his statement.

“With empathy and smile we should all embrace our next challenges, live with the consequences of our own actions and all together work for the better future.”

Coincidentally, the Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC have been drawn into Group A of the Super Cup that starts this month, and are scheduled to play their group stage match on April 16.