Indian Football

‘Bajaj acted like a criminal’: AIFF bans Minerva FC owner for racism against referee

AIFF’s discipinary committee said this was the fourth offence committed by Ranjit Bajaj within a span of a year.

I-League champions Minerva Punjab FC owner Ranjit Bajaj was on Monday banned for a year from all football activity and also fined Rs 10 lakh after being found ‘guilty’ of making racist remarks by AIFF.

The All India Football Federation disclipinary committee said this was the fourth offence committed by Bajaj within a span of a year.

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

According to the disciplinary committee, Bajaj hurled racial abuses against the referee Pynskhemhame Mawthoh, who’s from the North East region.

“The Committee holds Bajaj guilty of committing serious gross acts of infringements and imposes with sanction of suspension of 12 months,” the disclipinary 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.

“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 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 languages, 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.

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