PANAJI: Dempo Sports Club is in no mood to take things lying down as far as the unjustified suspension meted out to their midfielder Climax Lawrence is concerned.
Climax who bore the brunt of the All India Football Federation’s whims and unfair policy which made the veteran footballer sit out of the Air-India match without any fault of his. This Climax did as part of his two-match suspension.
Yes, there were allegations of misbehaviour during the Dempo-East Bengal match on November 3, but the inability on the part of AIFF to provide supporting evidence of any kind and the inordinate delay of over two weeks in deciding to suspend Climax for two matches - the next would be against Mohun Bagan (Nov 28) - has more than ruffled the feathers of the Dempo management.
This had even prompted Dempo Sports Club to dash an exhaustive 4-page letter to the I-League CEO Mr Sunando Dhar seeking explanations and questioning the rationality of the decision to suspend Climax, which was correctly termed “harsh” by chief coach Armando Colaco – who is hell bent on seeking justice from the AIFF.
Though Dhar had not replied to the Dempo letter even until the eve of the Dempo-Air India game when the club was hoping for a revocation of their player’s suspension, the response did come a little later, with Dhar expressing his “surprise” and “disappointment” over the Dempo Club’s reaction to Climax’s suspension.
On Monday, Dempo Sports Club once again replied back to the I-League CEO, thanking him for his reply, but at the same time also expressing that even the club was somewhat surprised that their previous letter to him had evinced a response that surprised and disappointed Dhar.
While expressing their views on Dhar’s reply, Dempo SC have tried to put key issues into perspective which the club thinks it perceives as being at the essence of Climax’s case, notwithstanding Dhar’s assertions supported by the regulations which he quotes in his letter.
Dempo SC feels that the due process of law in taking decision marked by a sitting of the Disciplinary Committee and the issuance of an extract of its resolution disciplining Climax Lawrence was not followed, a point in Dempo SC’s letter which Dhar is yet to respond to.
“Codes and clauses are exhaustively quoted, for which we thank you, but no mention of the process you took in applying these,” the Dempo SC letter signed by Armando Colaco further states.
Dempo SC added that a description of the evidence in hand has still not been shared with them as cordiality and fair play would demand in Climax’s case.
Though the I-League CEO maintains that video footage is proper evidence to decide the case, Dempo SC have maintained that they are yet to have an assertion from Dhar that it was such footage that formed the basis of AIFF’s decision to suspend Climax.
“We respectfully but firmly disagree with your defence that your delay in the matter was reasonable. Timely action in such matters ought to be taken in a day or two at the most, not over two weeks later, especially if video footage and/or the referee/ commissioner’s report are the only bases,” the Dempo letter argued.
On the subject of the delay in suspending Climax, Dempos have pointed out that the lapse meant that Climax played two further matches in the intervening period against Shillong Lajong and ONGC, which would otherwise have attracted the playing ban in question. “You are certain to agree that your delay has defeated the very purpose of your sanction,” the letter continued, adding: “We cannot but be reminded that our player, and thereby our team, is being singled out for disciplinary treatment on noting your silence on the instances of offensive player behaviour during this playing season quoted by us. Your endeavour to enforce discipline, while being a noble one, would gain merit and support if practiced uniformly across all clubs,” the Dempo letter recommend.
The Club said it was at pains to underline their absolute submission to the League’s disciplinary sanctions, but these have to be carried out with propriety, fairness and promptitude, as all would agree. “Our description of our player was not intended to extol his virtues, not even to claim special treatment for him, as you appear to think, but to suggest extreme caution and a faultless procedure in sanctioning a player with an exemplary playing record,” claimed the letter in Climax’s defence.
“In conclusion, may we respectfully hold out the hope that the I-League Department, going forward, takes every step subject to the totality of regulations governing its functioning in matters such as player disciplining?,” the letter summed up.