Kerala Blasters FC on Tuesday announced a temporary pause of their women’s team due to financial constraints brought on by the fines imposed on them due to the walkout staged by their men’s team in the Indian Super League semifinals.

In a statement, Kerala Blasters blamed the financial sanctions imposed on the club by the All India Football Federation in April after the team refused to complete their playoff match against Bengaluru FC in the ISL.

Stating that the decision was taken to “prioritize the more immediate objectives and long-term financial stability”, the club said that it could not continue the “women’s team activities until such time that there is complete clarity on the matter.”

“The decision to pause their activities was made after careful consideration and evaluation of the current circumstances. Not to mention, the Club is still awaiting further sanctions from the league body as well that are only likely to augment the financial impact on the Club,” Blasters said in the statement.

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

AIFF had fined the club Rs 4 crores after the men’s team had walked off during their match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on March 3. Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic, who led the walkout that the players followed suit on, was slapped with a a 10-match ban along with a fine of Rs 5 lakh.

The statement added that this pause is temporary and they will apparently reinstate the women’s Team upon closure of this matter in its entirety, which is not quite clear at what point in time will happen.

The Kerala-based club also saw their appeals for reducing the sanctions being rejected by the AIFF’s Appeals Committee earlier this month.

The AIFF Appeal Committee, headed by its chairperson Akshay Jaitly, didn’t uphold the KBFC appeal against the Rs 4 crore fine. The governing body said in their statement, “The committee also rejected Ivan Vukomanovic’s appeal against the fine of Rs 5 lakh and a 10-game ban imposed on him. In both cases, the Appeal Committee upheld the earlier decisions of the Disciplinary Committee. Both Kerala Blasters and the coach are required to pay the respective fines within two weeks.”

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.

India goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan questioned the call on Twitter, saying: “So the men’s team gets a fine for what they did and the money comes from the women’s team budget by shutting it down? Great, that’s how women’s football will develop in india. Horrible!”