Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Kerala Blasters could be in for trouble, with a complaint being filed against them for 'insulting' the Indian National Anthem.
The complaint, according to a report in Hindustan Times, pertains to a few players in the franchise keeping their right hand over their heart during the National Anthem, as is the custom in certain countries, which in turn is believed to have inspired fans present at the venue to follow suit.
The report stated that a complaint, which had been registered after Kerala's home fixture against Mumbai City FC on 14 October, had been lodged with the Kochi police.
Assistant Commissioner of Police of the Special Branch (Kochi) was reported to have shot off a letter to the CEO of Kerala Blasters on 31 October.
The instructed the franchise not only to ask the players and the player escorts to refrain from the practice, but to announce to the fans via the Public Announcement system to stand in 'attention' while the national anthem is sung, even though there is no official legislation to support the same. The side have been warned of serious repurcussions if they fail to follow the directions.
The team officials were reportedly instructed about the same during the Match Commissioner's Meeting (MCM), which is held a day before every fixture in the tournament.
An ISL spokesperson confirmed that the complaint was indeed filed after the fixture, but denied knowledge of any instructions from the police.
Kerala Blasters beat Mumbai City FC 1-0 in the fixture in which they committed the alleged 'offence', with Michael Chopra scoring the goal in the 58th minute of the match. The franchise, which is co-owned by Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, is currently fourth in the points table, having beaten FC Goa 2-1 in their last outing.