On Saturday, the All India Football Federation(AIFF) announced that they will be handing a transfer ban for Kolkata giants East Bengal for illegally approaching and signing Minerva Punjab star defender Sukhdev Singh. At the beginning of the transfer window, both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal claimed to have signed the defender. This led to the director of Minerva Punjab to lodge a complaint to All India Football Federation stating that East Bengal had illegally tapped up the Minerva Punjab player. The All India Football Federation then referred this case to its players status Committee which met earlier this month and discussed the case. The committee decided that they will be held responsible for tapping up.
— Ranjit Bajaj (@THE_RanjitBajaj) September 15, 2018
Sukhdev’s contract at Minerva Punjab lasted for the entirety of the 2018-19 season and had more than six months left on his contract. According to the FIFA rules, if a club wants to make an approach for a player of another club who has more than six months on his contract, they will have to contact the club that the player is currently playing for before making an approach directly to the player, like in this case where East Bengal directly approached the player without talking to Minerva Punjab before they did.
— XtraTime (@greymind43) September 15, 2018
Numerous sources say that East Bengal did not take the right procedures but Mohun Bagan did in an attempt to sign the defender. Mohun Bagan first approached Minerva Punjab and held talks to sign him but the deal supposedly failed to take shape before East Bengal announced his signature. East Bengal claim that they were ignorant of the player’s current contract and that they were misled by the player’s agent. Given the fact that all clubs have access to a centralized system where they are able to check the contract status of any player, the board decided that East Bengal’s claim didn’t hold water and were hence handed the transfer ban.