Monday , 25 March 2019
AIFF is trying to do to me what they did to clubs from Goa: Minerva FC owner
Minerva Punjab FC owner Ranjit Bajaj was banned for a year and fined `10 lakh by the AIFF Disciplinary Committee for allegedly racially abusing match officials. Minerva FC has won all AIFF competitions this season .An angry Ranjit Bajaj spoke over the phone to Sports Editor AUGUSTO RODRIGUES about what happened and what may happen

AIFF is trying to do to me what they did to clubs from Goa: Minerva FC owner


Q: If you are innocent, why do you think the AIFF Disciplinary Committee has penalised you?

The AIFF is trying to do to me what they have done to clubs from Goa. I tried to stand up for my clubs rights and this is an attempt to get me out. The AIFF is used to a system where clubs are not expected to question the way they function. The clubs from Goa tried to do so and they are now out and AIFF is happy about it.


Q: But the clubs from Goa were not thrown out, the clubs opted out. There is a difference?

You think Salgaocar and Dempo were not thrown out?  These are people who are capable of standing up for the truth and are people capable of questioning authority. The AIFF does not like being asked questions. I am being targeted because I ask questions too.


Q: The AIFF press note claims that you received disciplinary sanctions because you racially abuse match officials. Comment.

The problem started when my boy’s mobiles were stolen from a room where they were told to keep them. When we came back after the match, we found the door open and the mobiles stolen. I questioned the organisers and asked them who was going to compensate my boys. It was only after much noise that a police complaint was lodged the next day.


Q: What about the allegation that you abused the match commissioner and the referee aftet he last match against Aizawl?

This is ridiculous. I have said it before and am repeating that 90% of my boys are from the North East. My coach is from the North East and the staff in my Academy is from the North East. Am I going to insult the people from the North East?

However, I did question the organisers why the match officials in our final match against Aizawl were from the North East. I had a right to question them because even when we are in Goa, there are no referees from Goa officiating matches. Are rules different in Goa and Aizawl? Is that being racist? The AIFF is trying to accuse me of committing murder.


Q: The AIFF press note claims that this is not the first time that you have been found abusing match officials .Comments.

Only people who talk about the ills in AIFF are being pulled up. Before this, it was only the clubs from Goa that stood up against AIFF. It was during senior AIFF meetings that the owners of clubs from Goa that used to raise objections to AIFF. I continued doing so and now they are trying to target me.

Q: It has been reported in certain web sites that you intend approaching CAS in Switzerland if AIFF does not consider your appeal. Why CAS and not FIFA?

My legal team is drafting an appeal to AIFF and it shall be submitted by tomorrow (Wednesday). If I am not given a fair hearing and I feel I am being given a raw deal, I will first write to AFC and FIFA and then will surely go to CAS. Going to CAS is the best way to get AIFF back into its place. There has to be an attitude change and the change can come about when you show AIFF you will not get cowed down.


Q:  Your team has been winning everything – from the I-league to all the age group tournaments. The sanction has come to you before the U-18 Final round begins. You will not be able to be with your team. Your thoughts.

I think one of the reasons of banning me is to keep me away from my boys. We have won all the AIFF tournaments and the U-18 is the last one. The way they went about, giving me an hours’ time to reply to a show cause notice and passing a judgment in around three hours on a Sunday goes to prove the AIFF motive.

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