Bengaluru FC head coach Ashley Westwood seems to be learning from the mistakes made by his Mohun Bagan counterpart Sanjoy Sen.
Sen was recently reprimanded by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for comments made against the apex football body in regard to scheduling of matches concerning his side. On filing a written apology, Sen’s `10 lakh fine and eight-match ban were reduced by half, and Westwood seems to have taken a leaf out of the veteran Indian manager’s book.
When asked about the situation, Westwood said, “The rules are there, they are good, and you have to abide by them. If you make mistakes, then you take the fine on the chin and you make sure you don’t do it again. That’s what happened with Sanjoy Sen—he made a mistake, he held his hands up and he got fined. They accepted his appeal because he has said he has learned and I’m happy he is not suspended anymore.”
Westwood is no stranger to retrospective action by the AIFF having been pulled up for unsporting behaviour in the 2014-15 I-League season.
But Westwood is walking on thin ice in regard to avoiding further suspensions.
An AIFF official, on condition of anonymity, confirmed that several I-league teams and coaches have put in complaints regarding the Bengaluru coach’s behaviour during matches this season.
Unofficial statements by representatives of I-League teams concur that Westwood has been known to verbally abuse his coaching counterparts and hurl expletives at players on the field and in opposition dugouts during matches.
The unsportsmanlike behaviour has been reported to the AIFF but the governing body cannot take action until official reports have been filed by match commissioners.
Sen’s ban was followed through after substantial evidence was provided—which the AIFF accepts in the form of reports by the match officials or through credible video evidence.
So far, Westwood’s actions have been undocumented which has prevented the AIFF from taking action despite numerous, unofficial complaints.
Meanwhile, Westwood expressed his support over the AIFF’s code of conduct for players and coaches of the I-League.
“There’s guidelines in everyone football federation and association. You can’t say certain things in England about officials, you can’t say certain things in England about specific coaches—that’s the reality and you have to respect it because it is part of football,” Westwood expressed when asked about the AIFF’s guidelines which brought Sen to task.