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FIFA ban fails to dampen spirit of Durand Cup as 131st version begins with pomp and fanfare- Newslength

The darkish clouds hovering over Indian soccer did not dampen the spirit of the Durand Cup, because the 131st version of Asia’s oldest match of the game kicked off with a lot pomp and fanfare on the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan right here on Tuesday.

The opening day of Durand Cup was attended by near 13,000 followers, who got here to see the match between Mohammedan Sporting and defending champions FC Goa.

With West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, as chief visitor for the one-and-hour-long opening ceremony, safety was beefed up on the VYBK stadium a lot earlier than the match began.

Whereas the All India Soccer Federation’s (AIFF) suspension by the game’s world governing physique, FIFA might have far-reaching penalties, with the nation set to lose the internet hosting rights of the U-17 FIFA Ladies’s World Cup slated in October, the festive ambiance in the course of the Durand Cup opener revealed little or no concerning the sombre actuality.

For the primary time within the match’s historical past, 11 Indian Tremendous League (ISL) groups might be amongst 20 others, who might be vying for the highest honour.

The match additionally options 5 I-League golf equipment and the remaining 4 from the Armed forces.

“We are really sad for the ban but football can’t stop, so we are here in full strength to support our team. I’m sure better things will prevail soon,” mentioned a Mohemmedan SC fan.

Nevertheless, the Indian Soccer Affiliation secretary (IFA) Anirban Dutta appeared a bit anxious over the FIFA ban.

“Not just the U-17 Women’s World Cup, the AFC Cup Inter-zonal semifinal match of ATK Mohun Bagan too will be affected,” Dutta instructed reporters right here.

“This will also have a negative impact on the I-League, ISL and also the players. Clubs won’t be able to sign any foreign players. I just hope that it’s restored soon,” he added.

The ban is a primary in AIFF’s 85-year-old wealthy historical past and FIFA has mentioned the transgression constitutes a severe violation of its statutes.

“Many clubs and players will suffer because of this. If the ban is not lifted, the U-17 Women’s World Cup won’t happen and our semi-final also remains a cloud of uncertainty. We can’t even sign players,” Mohun Bagan secretary Debasish Dutta mentioned, terming it as a “black day” for Indian soccer.

“Those who are responsible for bringing the sport to disrepute should be penalised. We hope in the SC hearing tomorrow everyone keep their ego aside, sacrifice their chairs (posts) and save Indian football,” he added.

Having certified to the primary spherical earlier this 12 months, India are additionally slated to play the AFC Asian Cup subsequent 12 months and the suspension will jeopardise the nationwide group’s possibilities.

“It’s not a joke. We should have given a thought to it. But we are hoping for the best,” former footballer and Mohun Bagan legend Satyajit Chatterjee mentioned.

Stating that Indian soccer wants a clean-up, former Indian goalkeeper Sandip Nandy mentioned bringing in gamers into administration is the important thing going ahead.

“Why are we not giving importance to ex-players? Look at the BCCI, Indian cricket is run by (Board president) Sourav Ganguly and we also have the legendary Rahul Dravid as the head coach. That’s the way forward in football too,” Nandy mentioned.



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