Bagan hoping to make a fresh start after Sunday`s violence

Kolkata: Mohun Bagan coach Karim Bencherifa on Tuesday said the team was looking to start afresh when it takes to the field on Wednesday for training, barely three days after Sunday`s violence-ridden derby against East Bengal.

Though Mohun Bagan`s fate in the I-League hangs in balance with the AIFF yet to decide on punishment for pulling out at the interval, Bencherifa hoped that the team would come out with a clean slate.

"We are looking for a positive result that will boost the boys mentally, especially after what happened on Sunday. We are waiting for the AIFF`s decision.

"But at the same time, we hope that they will take a decision keeping the club`s mass followers in consideration," Bencherifa said on the eve of the Calcutta Football League Premier Division match against Bhowanipore.

The AIFF`s decision is expected before December 15 when Mohun Bagan is scheduled to play Pailan Arrows.

Meanwhile, East Bengal secretary Kalyan Majumdar said that the club was ready to bear the expense for the treament of Syed Rahim Nabi if asked by the AIFF.

"Mohun Bagan cannot question our players` team spirit. Our players carried Nabi to the ambulance. It speaks volumes about their sportsman spirit. We are ready to bear the treatment cost, if we get an order," he said.

Nabi underwent surgery on the cheekbone yesterday and the India midfielder has been ruled out for at least six weeks.

He was hit by a stone during the violence that erupted in the gallery after their highest paid striker and captain Odafa Okolie was red-carded for showing dissent.

The match was held up for about 15 minutes during the first-half added time, before police brought the situation under control.

Mohun Bagan, who were trailing 0-1, refused to turn up in the second half, forcing thwe match to be abandoned.

According to AIFF`s Clause 22, if a team withdrew in the middle of a match, it would be suspended from the I-League for the current season and the following two seasons unless it was dubbed a force majeure.

The FIFA rule states that if a missile of any kind lands on the ground or if a player is injured, then a team has every right to walk off.

However, in this case, Mohun Bagan played out the stoppage time in the first half after Nabi was hit.


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