Bhutan Football Federation’s (BFF) appeal committee, while upholding some of its disciplinary committee’s decision on the Drukpol FC, has reduced the number of match ban and the fines imposed on the players.

BFF’s disciplinary committee, on June 29, suspended Drukpol FC from participating in two editions of the federation’s competition, imposed fine on four players and banned them from playing some matches, after the team had a row with a referee and refused to resume the game at the 54th minutes of the Pepsi Thimphu League 2017.

Drukpol’s Jamphel Sherab, Tandin Tshering, and Kinzang Wangchuk, who were banned for four matches, are now banned for two. The disciplinary committee’s fine of Nu 10,000 to the players is also reduced to Nu 5,000. The penalty on Tenzin Tshering, which bans him from playing in two matches and a fine of Nu 5000, was not changed.

Drukpol FC, on July 4, appealed to the BFF’s appeal committee, stating that the decisions taken by BFF disciplinary committee involved a single party, referring to the referee and the match commissioner’s report.

Drukpol FC also stated that the decisions were taken within a short time and their stand on the committee chairman being absent while the decision was made, was true as the chairman was out of the station. “We were not called while taking decisions and the match was abandoned in a short notice without warning the players about the match to be abandoned when we refused to restart the game,” the appeal letter stated.

It also stated that their team only deserved to be suspended temporarily from the league to solve the issues with a proper investigation. “The problem occurred after the referee declared the handball of our opponent player of Thimphu City as a goal.”

Drukpol FC stated that the hand goal incident is clearly visible on BFF video clip.

However, the appeal committee stated that they did not find the decisions taken by the disciplinary committee unilateral, as the decisions were taken based on reports submitted by the referee and the match commissioner who is considered as a neutral observer.

It also stated that the next senior member of the committee, who is in office, could do the proceedings of the committee decisions.

The committee also reasoned that the decisions on Drukpol FC were taken in short time since the team had a match the next day.

The appeal committee’s response to Drukpol FC’s appeal letter also states that the decisions taken by disciplinary committee did not have a conflict of interest, as the disciplinary committee members are mentioned in the BFF disciplinary code and they were not the match officials of the game.

The committee, on referring the match commissioner’s report, stated that the players were called to restart the game several times. “The competition officer informed Drukpol FC’s team manager that the game would be a walkover if they refuse to restart.”

It also stated that the Drukpol players’ offences were inappropriate according to the BFF disciplinary code. “The players were suspended and fined for the physical assault as per the code.”

The committee claimed that they confirmed the offences of the players by watching the recorded video clip of the incident.

However, a Drukpol official in an earlier interview with Kuensel, said that the live recording of the match was not entertained for review while the disciplinary committee penalised and suspended the team.

The appeal committee also notified Drukpol that the decisions of a match are taken by the referee and it is final and binding as mentioned in the BFF disciplinary code.

The committee, after reviewing all the clauses of appeals and taking into account the competition regulation, notified Drukpol that the decisions for the refund of BFF subsidy and coaches salary would be as per the June 30 decision.

It also stated that Drukpol FC is expected to settle all the fines and funds received from the BFF this month.