Fans have been left livid after Indian Super League franchise FC Goa banned posters and banners in the stadium for the Wednesday duel with Mumbai City FC.
“It is unfortunate. Because banners and posters go a long way in motivating players and is part and parcel of cheering up a squad,” Siddharth Mehta, a Goa-based member of the ‘Gaur army’, a local fan contingent which cheers the club during games, told IANS.
“It is a stupid decision. We have been supporting the club in home and away games for the last six years. This is unbelievable,” another FC Goa fan said.
The ban on posters and banners was announced by the club on Wednesday as additions to the list of items banned from the team’s home turf, the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Fatorda. Other banned items include cigarettes, lighters, hazardous substances, drugs, firecrackers.
FC Goa is currently slugging it out with Athletico de Kolkata for the top slot in the ISL table. The club, whose performance has been hailed this season, has been going through turmoil of late after the team’s Spanish coach Sergio Lobera was sacked without any public explanation.
During the last match on February 5, fans who have rooted for Lobera in the past had turned up at the stadium with posters and banners supporting the coach who was sacked on February 1.
The National Students Union of India has now filed a complaint with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) seeking immediate revocation of the ban.
“We strongly believe the ban on the banners is totally uncalled for and we strongly demand to revoke the ban to allow our supporters to cheer for the team wholeheartedly with banners and posters, failing which there will be huge protests in the stadium,” NSUI president Ahraz Mulla said in his letter to the AIFF.
No comment was forthcoming from FC Goa on the entire issue.