Mumbai: The Indian Super League's (ISL) appeals panel on Friday removed the ban on FC Goa co-founders and co-owners Shrinivas V.A Dempo and Dattaraj V. Salgaocar and also revoked a 15-point sanction, thus allowing the club to start their 2016 ISL campaign on par with the other teams in the league.
The final of the 2015 edition of the ISL was marred by violence and controversy when players and officials of FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC engaged in scuffles after the conclusion of the match. Chennaiyin FC had won the final 3-2.
FC Goa had alleged that Chennaiyin FC captain and marquee player Elano Blumer had assaulted Salgaocar and decided to boycott the prize distribution ceremony.
But the ISL's regulatory commission later adjudged that the decision to boycott the ceremony was taken before-hand and slapped the Goan franchise with a Rs.11 crore fine, docked 15 points and banned Salgaocar and Dempo for three and two years, respectively.
"The ISL appeals panel in its judgement revoked the sanction on 15 points docked on FC Goa, thus allowing FC Goa to start their ISL 2016 campaign on par with other teams in the League," ISL organisers Football Sports Development Limited said in a statement on Friday.
"The panel has revoked the respective ban on two of FC Goa's owners. The decision was taken basis letter of regret submitted by the owners and Elano Blumer to the ISL appeals panel, terming the incidents as something that happened in the heat of the moment. Since it was a first time offence and based on the regret letters received, the appeals panel has revoked the respective bans on the owners," the statement added.
"Appeals panel has reduced FC Goa's financial penalty to Rs.6 crore from the earlier Rs.11 crore. The appeals panel also stated that this amount to be paid to FSDL, should be utilised for investments solely in grassroots development programmes for football in the country. Appeals panel also set aside Rs.1 crore penalty levied on FC Goa to be paid to Chennaiyin FC as part of the latter's legal expenses."
However, in a major blow to FC Goa, Dempo and Salgaocar on Friday announced their decision to exit the ISL franchise. In a joint statement, Dempo and Salgaocar said that a sense of "deep distress" following the developments post the ISL 2 final have forced them to take the decision.
"The developments post the final have caused deep distress to us, our families, the FC Goa team and Goans in general. We have received a copy of the statement of Elano Blumer of Chennaiyin FC conveying his regrets over his actions that occurred post-match on December 20. In the interest of our innumerable fans and the team, with great sadness we have taken the painful decision to exit from FC Goa," the statement said.
"Our families have supported football for over five decades and it extended itself to our association in the ISL. We invested in ISL because of our passion and the love of the game. We wanted to place Goa as a key presence on the football map. We have created in FC Goa, a team with the right spirit and culture and playing football in the highest traditions of the game. FC Goa is a brand that has united Goa," the statement added.
The co-owners also thanked FC Goa fans for their unconditional love and support to the team. "We would also like thank all our FC Goa players , coach Zico and FC Goa staff and officials for their support, dedication and commitment and partaking in our vision. A special thanks to our co-owners Virat Kohli and Venugopal Dhoot, the government of Goa and our sponsors."