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    Mohun Bagan will exert political influence to get out of this mess: Sougata Mukhopadhyay

    The country's oldest football club, with a 123-years-old history, faces the risk of being banned. Whose fault is it? The players? The unruly supporters? The club officials? Or is it the football administration? What lessons can other big sporting clubs in the country draw from this experience? CNN-IBN's senior editor Sougata Mukhopadhyay joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

    Q. What are the possible way outs? Asked by: d_star

    A. To my mind, as per tournament regulations the AIFF doesn't have to many choices. It can either ban the club from playing the league for two more seasons after this or let it go unpunished. The regulations do not permit the federation from deciding anything in between. The outcome will depend on whether the AIFF's legal advisors are convinced with Mohun Bagan's defence of force-majeure conditions. However, there are some who believe that the AIFF may well decide to let the club off with minor penalties. It would be interesting to note on what grounds it takes such a decision, if at all it does.

    Q. Can there be replay of the Derby? Or East Bengal will be declared winner for sure? Asked by: sujoy dey

    A. As per I league regulations, to which all participating teams are contractually bound, there are no provisions of replay if a team withdraws from the middle of a match. East Bengal's score/points will be decided by the tournament committee based on what penalty AIFF imposes upon Mohun Bagan.

    Q. Why did Mohun Bagan play the last two minutes of the first half if they felt threatened? I think the the club officials chickened out playing the next 45 minutes without Odafa? is it not so? And the excuse they gave was players security? Asked by: Guru

    A. That's one strong point that the legal opinion givers would have against the club while recommending the penalty. The counter argument from Mohun Bagan's side is that "it took some time for the trauma to sink in" and after the players came to know that Nabi will have to undergo a surgery they decided against playing the match.

    Q. Dear Sougata, Is the system of the new set of players from foreign countries being roped in, the problem. The standard of football has not improved despite these players. What is your view? Asked by: Narayan

    A. Well... yes and no simultaneously... there have been foreign players who have raised the bar of the game in India. But there have been others who have grossly undermined the football tradition in this country.

    Q. Will Mohon Bagan be able to be out of this mess with the political clout of their President? Can AIFF act without bowing down to political pressure? Asked by: sujoy dey

    A. Mohun Bagan, I believe, will exert its political influence to get out of this mess and, no prizes for guessing, may well prevail. AIFF has a golden opportunity to rise above political considerations for the sake of the sport and act. But I have my doubts whether it will.

    Q. The game of football always is tough and that is why the the yellow and red cards. On field troubles and spilling over to off field and amongst spectators not uncommon. Comparatively we have lesser incidents in INDIA. Does the physical exhaustion of a fast paced game of 90 minutes create the situation of players seeing the play field as a battle field? Asked by: sundar1950in

    A. That could be one of the reasons. But the Sunday fiasco was a fallout of the tension and excitement over a match between traditional rivals. Both teams and their supporters had a point or two to prove on the field. Inadequate and unprofessional security arrangements can also be blamed to some extent.

    Q. Easiest way out - eat the pride - say sorry - Publicly apologise - be damned by followers.? is this what the Administrators of football want? Asked by: sundar1950in

    A. Don't think that's really an option now. There are no provisions of tendering public apology in tournament regulations.

    Q. Players,club officials,supporters,punters are all biased to their interests. The referee and linesmen have no side to support and their decisions can be questioned in a polite manner within the system and not bring shame to the support by unruly behaviour. Will the team leader axe the wrong doers? Asked by: sundar1950in

    A. The club is contractually bound to the regulations of the tournament committee. The penalty for withdrawal from a match is clearly stated in clause 22 of the said regulations. The tournament committee along with the AIFF is free to take a call on the basis of that.

    Q. Will Mogun Bagan get out of the mess with a lighter punishment? Asked by: sundar1950in

    A. As per I league regulations, it shouldn't. But the decision rests with the AIFF.