Northeast coach Grant urges AIFF to improve refereeing standards
Guwahati: Unhappy with the standard of refereeing during their Indian Super League (ISL) matches, Northeast United head coach Avram Grant on Monday urged the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to conduct a thorough feedback procedure and analyse the performance of the referees for the betterment of the tournament.
In their last game and already out of the playoffs contention Northeast lost to Kerala Blasters 0-1. But after the game, Grant was disappointed with the match officials. He criticised referee Tejas Nagvenkar for the marching orders given to him after he entered the pitch in the final minutes of the game. This was after a scuffle between the two sets of players.
In a statement, Northeast said they have "been one of the biggest sufferers due to adverse decisions by the referees."
Pointing at the appointment of referee Santosh Kumar for back to back matches, the Highlanders accused the Kerala referee of denying a "valid foul/penalty on our player Marcinho (vs Delhi Dynamos FC on February 14), which later resulted in a long term injury to the player due to a strong challenge on him by the opponent."
"In the dying minutes of the match on 17th Feb 2018, our head coach Avram Grant was suspended from the match despite being very respectful with the referee and attempting to help the referee by separating the players and aiding in continuing with the match. Grant was sent off and man handled by the fourth official without any clear communication on the reason for sending him off.
"In light of these above observations, while our head coach Avram Grant serves his suspension by sitting out of the next match against Mumbai City FC, NEUFC and Avram Grant would like to highlight to the All India Football Federation to conduct a thorough feedback procedure to analyze the performance of the referees and their need to improve further to help the league overall.
"Teams like Northeast United may be out of contention for the playoff berth but the team is playing for the pride and the region they represent and such adverse decisions
from the referees have a direct impact in killing the spirit of our game," the statement read.
The general standard of refereeing has faced a lot of flak throughout the season in both the ISL and I-League with teams complaining of poor decisions costing them crucial moments of the match.
I-League heavyweights Mohun Bagan have been vocal in their protest, sending several mails to the AIFF.
Northeast are placed ninth in the points table with just 11 points from 16 games.