By Tsering Choephel
DHARAMSALA, 11 Oct: Tibetan National Sports Association (TNSA) on 9 October released an official letter, pardoning the banned Shimla FC team along with the letter of apology submitted by the latter in regards to their controversial walk-out during the final match of the 2022 Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup (GCMGC) against the Dhondhupling FC.
Shimla FC’s letter, signed by all team members stated that they “apologise for staging a walkout from the football ground” during the 2022 GCMGC final match and pleaded the 5 years ban imposed on the team be withdrawn.
The apology letter submitted on 25th Sept. also appeals to the apex Tibetan sports body to consider the team “not being awarded the runner-up prize as well as losing the chance to participate in the 2023 GCMGC tournament where the Tibetan national team is selected” as the price for their mistake while requesting to revoke the 5-year ban.
Despite the divided general public opinion over the disputed goal during the final match, Shimla FC says that they “concur with the prevailing public view that walking out of the football ground was a mistake” and therefore the team offered an apology.
In response, TNSA released a statement stating that they accept the apology following a board meeting on 4th Oct. and announced that “the 5-year ban punishment given to the Shimla FC is rescinded and therefore, the team can participate in the GCM tournaments from 2024 onwards.”
The Shimla FC’s apology received after over a year is nonetheless a positive turn and likewise, the TNSA offered “understanding and accepted the apology.”
In addition, TNSA appeals to everyone to be mindful that “such problems will not occur again in the future.”
The 2022 GCM final match between Shimla FC, the then defending Champion and the most decorated team Dhondupling FC was played on 24 June at Paonta Cholsum Tibetan Settlement. Only 17 minutes into the game, the DFC captain scored a controversial goal by bumping into Shimla FC’s goalkeeper with the referee ruling in favour of the DFC team. In an apparent protest against the referee’s decision, the Shimla FC walked out of the ground.
Subsequently, the TNSA announced that the “Shimla team will not be recognised as the runner-up and that its players, coach and manager are banned from the GCM event for the next five years owing to misconduct and poor sportsmanship displayed by the Team” and added, however, that they were “willing to revisit its decision if the Shimla team submits an apology letter signed by all the registered players, coach and manager within a month.”