New Delhi:The All India Football federation on Sunday decided to refer the dispute between Baichung Bhutia and Mohun Bagan to an arbitrator after a meeting between the two parties failed to break the deadlock.
"Both the sides took a very firm view that they were right on the issue, so we cannot take a ruling. So we will seek a legal solution now," AIFF acting President Praful Patel told reporters after the executive meeting here.
"We have decided to refer the matter to an arbitrator as Bhutia himself has also asked for such a possibility," he added.
Patel said the arbitrator will be decided within a week. "We will take a decision on who would be the arbitrator in a week's time. No doubt, the arbitrator will be a legal expert," he said.
"Bhutia is the national captain. He is the icon of Indian football and we want to settle the matter as soon as possible," he added.
AIFF Secretary General Alberto Colaco, a Mohun Bagan official and Bhutia assembled this morning to discuss the footballer's suspension from the Club.
The meeting came after earlier talks had failed as the club was adamant on imposing a six-month suspension on Bhutia.
However, the meeting didn't go down well with the Indian coach Bob Houghton, who lashed out at Mohun Bagan for calling Bhutia for the meeting just before the Nehru Cup final on Monday.