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East Bengal FC Suspended from the AIFF U17 Youth League for Age Fraud

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has taken action against East Bengal and Muthoot Football Academy by barring them from participating in the 2023-24 U-17 Youth League. This decision comes after the AIFF’s disciplinary committee found both clubs guilty of age-fudging.

East Bengal FC Suspended from the AIFF U17 Youth League for Age Fraud, Image Credits- News 9
East Bengal FC Suspended from the AIFF U17 Youth League for Age Fraud, Image Credits- News 9

Specifically, the Kolkata-based giant and the Malappuram-based academy were found to have registered over-age players in their teams for the age-specific tournament, with each team having one over-age player in their ranks.

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East Bengal FC Disqualified from AIFF U-17 Youth League Due to Over-Aged Player Inclusion

East Bengal FC has been found to have included an over-aged player named Aniket Kar/Ankit Kar in their team for the AIFF U-17 Youth League 2023-24.

Consequently, in accordance with Article 5 of the regulations, the club will be disqualified from participating in the AIFF U-17 Youth League 2023-24, and any medals or titles earned by their team will be revoked.

The club East Bengal FC has registered an over-aged player named Aniket Kar/ Ankit Kar in their team at the AIFF U-17 Youth League 2023-24. The club shall be disqualified from participating in the AIFF U-17 Youth League 2023-24 and the team shall be stripped of their medals and title (if any) following Article 5 of the regulations for registering an over-aged player,” the AIFF ruled.

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No additional fines or sanctions were imposed on the clubs, the federation said. “They can appeal the verdict,” an AIFF official told to reporters.

East Bengals Schedule in the Regional Development League by Reliance Foundation Image Credits Twitter East Bengal FC Suspended from the AIFF U17 Youth League for Age Fraud
East Bengal’s Schedule in the Regional Development League by Reliance Foundation, Image Credits- Twitter

No further fines or penalties have been imposed on the clubs by the federation. An AIFF official informed reporters that the clubs have the option to appeal the decision.

Meanwhile, Muthoot Academy emerged as the top team among four Kerala-based teams in Group E, securing 19 points after eight games, with six victories and a draw.

Controversy Strikes East Bengal’s Impressive Youth League Campaign

In a surprising turn of events, East Bengal found themselves leading Group B, comprising six teams, with an impressive tally of 25 points from 10 games, boasting eight wins and a draw. Following closely behind was Mohun Bagan with 22 points, secured from seven wins and one draw.

The spotlight fell on East Bengal after their resounding 4-0 victory over Bagan in the ‘junior Kolkata Derby’ on December 16. Subsequently, Bagan raised concerns by lodging a complaint with the AIFF, alleging that East Bengal had fielded a player who had previously played for them in the U-13 League during the 2017-18 season.

According to reports on December 18, Bagan asserted that the player in question had multiple registrations in the AIFF’s Central Registration System (CRS). They accused East Bengal of utilizing forged documents to re-register the player in the CRS, enabling his participation in the U-17 Youth League.

East Bengals Schedule in the Regional Development League by Reliance Foundation Image Credits Twitter 1 East Bengal FC Suspended from the AIFF U17 Youth League for Age Fraud
East Bengal’s Schedule in the Regional Development League by Reliance Foundation, Image Credits- Twitter

Upon investigation, the AIFF discovered that the player had two names registered in the CRS, an essential online database for players and clubs involved in organized football. Despite featuring in East Bengal’s tournament opener against Mohammedan SC on December 14, which they won 3-2, and being named as an unused substitute in the Bagan game, the player was subsequently removed from the team following the allegations.

In light of the findings, Bagan and United SC, with 20 points, are set to progress to the knockout rounds of the tournament from the Eastern zone.

As of now, East Bengal has not issued a statement regarding the matter, although a spokesperson mentioned that they have yet to receive any official communication on the subject.

The 2023-24 edition of the Youth League featured a total of 54 teams, divided into 11 groups, with the competition commencing on December 13.

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