Justice was served for Chennai City as a longstanding controversy surrounding the transfer of Spanish midfielder Nestor Gordillo’s finally came to an end on Tuesday.
One of the driving forces behind Chennai City’s I-League title triumph last season, Gordillo was slapped with a four-month ban by the All India Football Federation after he penned a new contract with Indian Super League franchise FC Pune City in what was a breach of contract.
This was after the 29-year-old attacker signed the deal without the knowledge of his current club, where he had a contract that stretched till the end of next season.
The former Atletico Madrid reserve player was one of the standout performers in the I-League last season with 8 goals and 12 assists to his name but once his ban comes to an end, Gordillo will remain a free agent with Chennai City deciding to end his contract.
Terming All India Football Federation’s decision as a reasonable judgement, owner Rohit Ramesh said that Gordillo could have been misguided but there was no option but to part ways with him after breaching his contract.
“Had given him a second chance after what he had done, then it sets a bad example for the rest of the squad,” Ramesh told Scroll.in.
“We will also be setting up ourselves to a task where others can also do the same thing and where we are forced to take no action. At the end of the day, the club is bigger than any individual so we decided against reacquiring his services.”
Replacing a player of Gordillo’s calibre will be a mighty task for Chennai City coach given how proved to be a lynchpin for Akbar Nawas’ side last season but Ramesh acknowledged it was time to move on.
“Not only he [Nawas] but everyone is upset about how Nestor has turned his back against the club. A proper offer has to be made, valuation has to be met and then we could look into whether we want to keep or sell the player.”
He added: “That is the second monetary aspect. But the key point is that we follow the law of the sport. Going behind the back to sign for a club is not the right way. At the end of the day as a professional club we have to go back to the drawing board and carry on.”
Gordillo’s transfer is not the only one that has been embroiled in controversy this season. Earlier in April, Jobby Justin also agreed a three-year contract with ISL outfit ATK from East Bengal but the Kolkata giants alleged the striker signed a contract with them as well for which he wasn’t issued a No Objection Certificate.
The fame, riches and glamour associated with the ISL make it difficult for any I-League players to turn down lucrative contracts. However, Ramesh said he could afford to sell his best players as long as a good offer is placed on the table.
“I wouldn’t say that I-League clubs are a feeder because its an advantage considering that both leagues are running simultaneously. Bussiness per se, the transfers of players is imminent and not just the ISL clubs take players from the I-League its vice versa as well. If players there don’t get a chance they make a switch to the I-League.
“Tomorrow, If I’m having a mind-blowing offer for one of my players and he is also getting a good salary, we always seek the player’s decision first. But like I said before, negotiations have to be conducted it has to be done in the right manner and it needs to go by the books,” Ramesh explained.
Not only Gordillo, the club has also parted ways with several Indian players who formed the core of the team last season – all of whom have signed for ISL clubs – Edwin Vanspaul (Chennaiyin FC), Alexander Romario Jesuraj (FC Goa), Michael Regin (ATK) and Gaurav Bora (Delhi Dynamos). A club famed for grooming local talent, Ramesh believes new players can fill the void left for the Coimbatore-based side in the upcoming season.
“I don’t think it would be difficult to replace them. As a club from the south, we always oblige to give local players more chances. We harvest the crop every year. So it an added incentive for players who were there last year but who didn’t get a chance to play. It’s a boost for them to push themselves and cement their place in the team. Last year was a fairytale and we have to see this year on how we can shape things up,” he concluded.