Calcutta: For Mohun Bagan coach Karim Bencharifa the ban till 2014-15 is a shocking news. But, for the likes of Chuni Goswami, Bhaichung Bhutia and former Bagan official Balaram Choudhury, the writing was on the wall.
The following are what the fraternity had to say
Karim Bencharifa: It's a shocking news for me and all those who are associated with this prestigious club.
Atanu Bhattacharya: The coach and the players should have insisted on taking the field since the officials always behave irresponsibly.
Biswajit Bhattacharjee: It's really unfortunate to see Mohun Bagan banned. But at the end of the day, this was coming. I hope these officials, who have a habit of taking everything for granted and acting according to their own whims and fancies, will learn a lesson, along with the unruly supporters.
Bhaichung Bhutia: Bagan officials took decision on December 9 without thinking of the consequences. Decision not to play can never be supported. I feel sorry for the fans and the players. Football has to go on… Even if Sachin doesn't play, cricket goes on. I am sure Bagan will appeal. But rules have been laid down. Having said this I will like to add that Football Players' Association of India (FPAI) will appeal to the AIFF to reduce the ban.
Satyajit Chatterjee: The decision was an extremely harsh one. The national federation should have thought of the club's reputation, tradition and history before taking such a drastic step. Besides, the situation that day did not permit any further play. I'm sure the club will appeal against this ban.
Balaram Chowdhury: Anjan Mitra should resign immediately. The present regime is treating Bagan as their fiefdom. Like-minded people should immediately unite to get rid of elements like Mitra and Debasish Dutta.It's a sad day for every die-hard Bagan fan.
Chuni Goswami: We have no representatives in the I-League core committee. That tells us where Mohun Bagan stands. We didn't even compete in the IFA Shield in the centenary year of our 1911 victory. Every step was a blunder. It's a blow that will make us wake up, but it came at the cost of Mohun Bagan's reputation.
I.M. Vijayan: It's very sad to hear about a prestigious club like Mohun Bagan suffer such a disastrous fate. I think the decision-makers should have thought about the waning interest in the game if teams like Bagan, East Bengal or even Dempo are banned for two or three years. Keeping in mind the interests of football, Bagan should have banned till the end of this season. A two-year suspension is just too much. It's too harsh a penalty.
Mehrajuddin Wadoo: That day, we were scared after the injury Syed Rahim Nabi suffered. Anything could have happened. We feared for our lives… And also, that of the spectators. A club like Bagan and its players cannot suffer like this.