New Delhi: FC Goa co-owners Srinivas Dempo and Dattaraj Salgaocar on Friday withdrew their stakes from the franchise, surprisingly soon after the Indian Super League appeals panel lifted the ban on the duo for "bringing disrepute" to the tournament following last year's final.
The appeals panel of ISL today revoked the 15-point penalty imposed on the club besides reducing the Rs 11 crore fine and lifting the ban on the franchise owners.
The final of the 2015 edition of the ISL was marred by violence and controversy when players and officials of FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC engaged in scuffles after the conclusion of the match, with the Goans also boycotting the prize distribution ceremony.
In a FC Goa board meeting that took place after the ISL appeal panel's verdict, both Dempo and Salgaocar said that incident left them disturbed.
"The developments post the finals on December 20, 2016 have caused deep distress to us, our families, the FC Goa team and Goans in general. We have received a copy of the statement of Elano Blumer of Chennaiyin FC conveying his regrets over his actions that occurred post match on December 20. In the interest of our innumerable fans and the team, with great sadness we have taken the painful decision to exit from FC Goa," they said in a joint statement.
However, it was learnt that the move was pre-planned and that the two Goan co-owners in question had requested the appeals panel to remove the "burden of ban" from their head and pave the way for an "honourable exit".
The team is now left with only two co-owners in Videcon and star cricketer Virat Kohli.
The Goan duo further said in the joint statement: "Our families have supported football for over five decades and it extended itself to our association in the ISL. We invested in ISL because of our passion and the love of the game. We wanted to place Goa as a key presence on the football map. We have created in FC Goa a team with the right spirit and culture and playing football in the highest traditions of the game. FC Goa is a brand that has united Goa."
In last year's final, the dispute ensued after FC Goa alleged that Chennaiyin FC captain and marquee player Elano Blumer had assaulted their co-owner Dattaraj Salgaocar, prompting a boycott of the prize distribution ceremony by the Goan club.
"We would like to thank FC Goa fans for their unconditional love and being with us in good times and bad times and coming in such large numbers to the Fatorda stadium. We would also like thank all our FC Goa players, coach Zico and FC Goa staff and officials for their support, dedication and commitment and partaking in our vision. A special thanks to our co-owners Virat Kohli and Venugopal Dhoot ,the Government of Goa and our sponsors," the duo further said.
"We are committed to football in the future and offer our fullest support in taking Indian football to greater heights. FOR?A Goa!" they concluded.