Entire Indian state revolts against referee decision

The entire sporting population of the Indian state of Manipur appears to be supporting the All Manipur Football Association's boycott of national competitions in protest of a referee decison in the Goa - Manipur game which ousted the state from the next stage of the 60th Santosh Trophy football tournament in Cochi, Kerala.

The complaint was that the referee allowed Goa to restart the game even as most of the Manipur players were celebrating W Tomba's "brilliant goal in the 88th minute, off a classy swerving free kick" and an equalizer was scored by Goa`s Climax Laurence "even before the applause for Tomba`s goal subsided or the TV cameras had time to shift focus to the centre circle".

Even as the state's sports minister, Govindas Kon-thoujam, appealed to the Committee for Implementation of People's Decision on Santosh Trophy to review its decision to "suspend all national level sports meets and not to send any state contingent to any such meet", sporting activities came to a grinding halt with the first casualty being the All India Inter-University Football (W) Tournament being put on hold.

The Sangai Express reported that other state sports bodies had already announced boycotts of the following events: World Wushu Championship at Hanoi (from 7-15 December); U-17 National School Games at Andaman and Nicobar Island; U-19 National School Volleyball Tournament at Rajasthan (19-24 Dec); 32nd National Volleyball Championship at Karnataka (24-30 Dec); 20th Black belt, 22nd Men Colour Belt, 20th Sr National Female Taekwondo Championship at Lucknow (16-18 Dec); 5th Senior East and North East Volleyball Championship at Assam (14-18 Dec); 3rd National Touch Rugby at Delhi (25-27 Dec); Squash Board Competition at Canada (23-30 Dec); 28th National Archery Championship at Jharkhand (26 Dec); 8th Sub Jr National Sepak Takraw at Orissa (15-18 Dec) and 59th National Aquatic at Kerala (13-18 Dec).

Minister Govindas reportedly agreed that "the Santosh Trophy imbroglio had shown there was sentiment in mainland India to bring down Manipuri sports" but pointed out that Manipur had been chosen for one of the two Asian Football Confederation's Vision India pilot projects and that the central government had granted Rs 400 million as part of the Prime Minister's package for setting up a sports academy in Manipur.

He also reiterated that the ouster of Manipur from the Santosh Trophy on account of a referee`s controversial decision in the 17 November match "was very unfortunate" but reminded that the All India Football Federation, AIFF president Priya Ranjan Das Munshi and Union sports minister Oscar Fernandes had agreed to look into the matter when an all-party delegation from the state brought it to their attention. The state government is waiting for whatever decision they might take, he said.

See also: Manipur to boycott Indian nationals because of ref (21 Nov)