Drukpol FC will not play in the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) competitions until 2020. The club was penalised after some of its players mishandled and disobeyed the referee during a match on June 29.

BFF Disciplinary Committee announced the decision yesterday.

During the 65th match of the Pepsi Thimphu League 2017 held at Changlimithang, Thimphu City FC and Drukpol FC were tied a goal each until the 54th minute when the City’s defender Chencho found the net from a corner kick.

Drukpol FC players refused to resume the match protesting against the referee’s decision and claiming that it was a handball. Then players just sat down on the ground refusing  to budge.

The situation worsened when the referee declared the match to be abandoned. The protest escalated and some Drukpol FC players turned to mishandle and abuse the officials on the pitch.

The BFF Disciplinary Committee after reviewing the report submitted by the referee and the match commissioner declared that the Drukpol FC players violated the rules.

As per the federation’s competition rules, and competition regulations of the league 2017 all matches played by Drukpol FC will be cancelled and considered null and void.

The club has to refund club grants and the coach salary provided for the league to the BFF. The refund would amount to Nu 0.32 million.

Drukpol FC player Tenzin Tshering is suspended for two matches and fined Nu 5,000 while his teammates Jampel Sherab, Tandin Tshering, and Kinzang Wangchuk were suspended for four matches and fined Nu 10,000 each. The players were found guilty of physical assault, violence, intimidation, and threats as per the BFF disciplinary code.

Drukpol FC coach Tshering Chophel said that the goal scored was clearly a handball. He said that the committee would be aware of the rules for referees and the need to seek the advice of assistant referees regarding the incidents he has not seen.

“However, the team would be positive about the decisions made by the committee,” Tshering Chophel said.

Competition officer Kinley Dorji said that the referee’s decision in the game is final. “It cannot be recalled.”

He said that the implementation of video-assisted decisions is a long way.

“We need to learn to respect the decisions made on the pitch,” he said, adding that the decisions made by referees could be right or wrong.

Thimphu City FC manager said it was unfortunate that the game had to end that way in the presence of spectators.

He said that he did not expect such conduct from the Drukpol FC as they represent the law enforcers of the country in the league. Such conduct does not help to promote the sport in the country, said the manager.

Thimphu City, Transport United, and Thimphu FC are on the top of the league table while FC Tertons, Drukpol FC, and U-19 National team are in relegation zone.