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MSSA football: Referee reduces regulation time, coaches furious

Ref Sunil Jacob reduces regulation time in Div IV ties; coaches upset as their schools are denied goal-scoring opportunities

Coaches of some schools were furious as referee Sunil Jacob reduced the regulation time in their Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) boys U-16 Division IV matches at Azad Maidan yesterday.

Greenlawns players vie for the ball against St Xavier's Boys Academy's Qutubuddin Badri (right) at Azad Maidan. Pic/Sameer Markande
Greenlawns players vie for the ball against St Xavier's Boys Academy's Qutubuddin Badri (right) at Azad Maidan. Pic/Sameer Markande  

As per MSSA rules, each half of a Division IV fixture comprises 25 minutes. But on two occasions, the time of each half was reduced by about 5-10 minutes.

The first game between Gopi Birla Memorial School (Walkeshwar) and Saifi High School (Mohammed Ali Road) scheduled for a 1 pm start was delayed by 20 minutes. But the clash got over at 2 pm. It meant that both teams played around 15 minutes in each half.

Meanwhile, the second match between St Xavier's Boys' Academy (Churchgate) and Greenlawns School (Worli) scheduled for 2 pm started at 2.15 and got over at 2.55. In this match, the timing of each half was close to 20 minutes. St Xavier's won 4-2.

Gopi Birla coach Vivian Velankani said, "The referee told us that the match would be played over 17 minutes in each half as it was a late start. But eventually we played only 15 minutes. Thankfully, we won 10-0, so we had no objection."

Gopi Birla's Megh Sonawane scored four goals. His teammates Kshamin Shah and Naman Jain scored two goals each, while Priyansh Doshi and Shloak Sanghvi found the net once to complete the rout for Gopi Birla.

Another coach, who didn't want to be named, said: "The MSSA is least bothered about the matches. There is no MSSA official to see what's happening on the ground. All they want is to show on paper that the matches have been completed."

Referee Jacob said: "This is not the first time that I have reduced the duration of a match." MSSA general secretary Sebastian Fernandes said: "The matter will be discussed in the next meeting and appropriate action will be taken."

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