Air-India U 19 coach, players suspended after brawl

Air-India's U 19 football coach Shyam Sawant was suspended sine die by the Mumbai District Football Association after being held responsible for a sideline brawl on February 3 in which two of his players assualted players of the opponent team Byculla United. Though the Air-India colts finished on the winning side 2-0, the 88th minute of the Super Division match that was played at Goan Sports Association ground at Cross Maidaan was marred by shoving and pushing, and the bad blood spilled into post-match, where two of Byculla's players ended up badly wounded.

One of the players, a Parsee, has now vowed to never play football ever again in his life.

The MDFA has taken a serious view of the incident and suspended two Air-India U 19 players - Lawrence Betigiri and Mrunal Tandel - barred from playing for a year, their ban extending upto 15 February, 2014 after the two had part taken in beating up members of the rival team.

Souter Vaz, secretary MDFA confirmed, saying, "We've suspended the coach and also barred the two (Air-India) players for one a year. A letter has been sent to the Air-India manager and sports authorities."

In the meeting where the trio were handed their punishments after a complaint letter from Byculla, also considered was Sawant's past record in which he was suspended last May in 2012 for a similar act of indiscipline. Air-India's sports secretary Dilip Pinge said he was awaiting the letter from MDFA before taking action. The letter states, "Sawant has been suspended with immediate effect." The complaint letter was filed by Byculla's Leroy Nunes as well as the venue manager and match referee. The Parsee player is said to have been badly injured after being punched in the eye, and the brawl took place with parents in attendance on the sidelines.

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