Anjan Mitra said they had to take the step as the players were scared to turn up after the break as it could have been worse. "The prime requirement in a match is the safety of the players. Moreover, the violence could have led to a mass hysteria and uglier incidents could have taken place. Who would have taken responsibility then?" Mitra asked.
Kolkata: Mohun Bagan on Monday demanded compensation from East Bengal for Syed Rahim Nabi's injury as the midfielder underwent surgery for two facial fractures he sustained after being hit by a stone during their violence-ridden I-League derby.
Story first published on: Monday, 10 December 2012 21:07
"We will demand compensation from the host club till the time the player was fit to turn out in Mohun Bagan jersey," Mohun Bagan general secretary Anjan Mitra told reporters at the club tent.
The club is also mulling legal opinion if they face any suspension from the AIFF.
"We are preparing ourselves. We will definitely play the I-League. We are even ready to knock the doors of FIFA," he said when asked about AIFF's Clause 22 that states that a team withdrawing in the middle of the match is suspended for the current season and the following two seasons unless it is dubbed a force majeure.
But Mitra said they had to take the step as the players were scared to turn up after the break as it could have been worse.
"The prime requirement in a match is the safety of the players. Moreover, the violence could have led to a mass hysteria and uglier incidents could have taken place. Who would have taken responsibility then?" Mitra asked.
"Nobody told us after our player Syed Rahim Nabi was injured that safety of other players would be ensured. It was East Bengal's home match. They were the organisers. But they never told us that they will ensure safety of our players," Mitra said.
The match being East Bengal's home fixture, they should be blamed for the security lapse, Mitra said.
"During our home match, we are responsible for the security and there has been no incident like that of yesterday's. But the policemen were also busy watching the game yesterday," Mitra said.
Mitra said the players became a disturbed lot after they heard that Nabi was in hospital.
Mitra also claimed yesterday's referee Vishnu Chauhan did not have a FIFA badge.
Meanwhile Match Commissioner Gulab Chauhan has submitted his report to the AIFF, its senior vice-president Subrata Dutta said.
"The report given by the referee is also a part of Chauhan's report.
He further said the tournament committee will be meeting soon to decide the fate of the match, which is likely to happen before Mohun Bagan's next round.
The AIFF executive committee will then take a final decision on the recommendations of the tournament committee.
East Bengal and state sports minister Madan Mitra have said they were opposed to imposition of any strict punishment like suspension on Mohun Bagan.
"We have taken this stand in the interest of football in Bengal," East Bengal secretary Kalyan Majumdar said.
"Violence on football grounds in Argentina, Uruguay, Columbia and England is a common occurrence and what happened yesterday in Kolkata is not an isolated case. The police did a fantastic job," Mitra said yesterday.
The round 10 fixture had to be abandonded midway after Mohun Bagan refused to turn up after the interval in an unprecedented occurence.
With about one lakh in attendance for the Kolkata derby, all hell broke loose in the Mohun Bagan stands after their star player Odafa Okolie was red-carded in the two minutes after conceding a goal.
It was Nirmal Chhetri who fouled East Bengal's Harmanjot Khabra as referee Chauhan warned the Mohun Bagan defender.
Miffed at the decision, a charged up Mohun Bagan captain Odafa arrived at the scene and began arguing with the referee, which continued after the assistant referee intervened even as Chuhan flashed the red card.
The highly charged-up game snowballed into madness soon after as missles -- from bottles, stones to window panes --started flying in thick and fast from the stands, as one of them hit Nabi on the face as play was held up for about 15 minutes.
Soon the first-half injury time play got resumed before the halftime whistle was blown.
During the break, a Mohun Bagan official told the Match Commissioner Gulab Chauhan that they would not take to the field fearing security.
Chauhan even went in person to request the green and maroon to turn up but Mohun Bagan remained adamant and even state sports minister Madan Mitra's appeal and assurances fell on deaf ears.
As the news of Nabi's injury spread, the crowd resorted to unruly behaviour, forcing the police to resort to lathicharge.
This is for the first time in an history spanning 87 years and 302 matches, that a tie had to be cancelled between the two rivals.
There has been many incidents during the Mohun Bagan-East Bengal derby but August 16, 1980 remains the darkest day in history.
16 supporters were killed in a stampede after a derby at the Eden Gardens.