In the closing minutes of Saturday’s (17th February 2018) match between Northeast United FC and the Kerala Blasters FC at IGAI Stadium Sarusajai, Guwahati, NEUFC head coach Mr. Avram Grant was issued an order to leave the Technical Area following an attempt by Mr Grant to separate the players and to continue with the remainder of the match.
Though Northeast United FC fully supports Indian Super league its organisers and various stakeholders, the Club does not support the treatment meted out to its players and officials by the referees under All India Football Federation. The club would like to put on record that NEUFC has been one of the biggest sufferers due to adverse decisions by the referees.
Northeast United FC would like to point out to the All India Football Federation about certain points that we have noted with regards to the specific incidents that needs a thorough probing -
- Referee Santosh Kumar had been assigned for back to back matches of NEUFC (10th February 2018 vs Jamshedpur FC and 14th February 2018 vs Delhi Dynamos FC)
- Several video replays have confirmed and suggested that the same referee Mr. Santosh Kumar denied a valid foul / penalty on our player Marcinho (vs Delhi Dynamos FC on 14th Feb 2018), which later resulted in a long term injury of the player due a strong challenge on him by the opponent.
- In the dying minutes of the match on 17th Feb 2018, our head coach Mr Avram Grant was suspended from the match despite being very respectful with the referee and attempting to help the referee by separating the players and aiding in continuing with the match. Mr Grant was sent off and man handled by the fourth official without any clear communication on the reason for sending him off.
In light of these above observations, while our head coach Mr Avram Grant serves his suspension by sitting out of the next match against Mumbai City FC, NEUFC and Mr Avram Grant would like to highlight to the All India Football Federation to conduct a thorough feedback procedure to analyze the performance of the referees and their need to improve further to help the league overall. Teams like Northeast United may be out of contention for the playoff berth but the team is playing for the pride and the region they represent and such adverse decisions from the referees have a direct impact in killing the spirit of our game.