Fowler penalised for questioning on-field refereeing decisions, to miss Kolkata derby

SC East Bengal head coach Robbie Fowler has been handed a four-match suspension and Rs 5 lakh fine by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for excessive criticism of on-field refereeing decisions in the ongoing Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL).

“The adverse remarks have questioned and cast aspersions on the integrity and honesty of the Match Officials who have supervised the matches with the best of their abilities with sincerity and maintaining neutrality. Moreover, anyone making any criticism through public media must be extremely cautious to ensure that under the garb of criticism and remarks in no way defame someone either directly or by innuendos,” the AIFF said in a statement on Wednesday.

Hero ISL debutant SC East Bengal are presently 10th on the points table and AIFF’s decision to charge their head coach Fowler comes after the governing body observed the Englishman’s continued criticism towards the match officials for their on-field calls despite warnings.  

The Englishman was found to have been in breach of Article 50 (misconduct against match officials) following repeated instances of clashes with match officials and will miss his team’s matches against Jamshedpur FC (February 07), Hyderabad FC (February 12), ATK Mohun Bagan (February 19) and NorthEast United FC (February 23).

The AIFF charging Fowler for breaching Article 50 isn’t the first time a Hero ISL head coach has faced such a suspension. Ranko Popovic, then FC Pune City head coach, was meted out the same punishment for his outburst against match officials in Hero ISL 2017-18, and high-profile names like Antonio Lopez Habas and Eelco Schattorie have also been handed such punishments in the past.

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