Agitated over the disqualification of their wards’ team, angry parents took over a basketball court in Fr Agnel Sports Complex in Vashi on Monday.
Stalling the finals of the under-14 girls tournament, parents of students from Vibgyor high school, Goregaon, parked themselves in the middle of the court for two hours before local police intervened. The police urged them to vacate the court so that the final between Hiranadani Foundation School, Thane, and Bombay Scottish, Mahim, could be played.
Vibgyor was disqualified by the Districts Sports Office (DSO) on the ground that it fielded students from more than one board. Neither Vibgyor’s officials nor the team were present on the court when the parents swooped in. Five senior police officials from Vashi had to struggle for nearly three hours before the game, scheduled for 8am, finally started at 11am. The parents demanded that the match be postponed as they were not given adequate notice about the disqualification.
“This is the height of competitiveness, where players are sitting at home and their parents are hitting the court,” said a basketball administrator, adding that the fiasco is representative of the extent to which parents will go to push the case of their children. “These parents are defeating the very spirit of sports,” he said.
According to DSO Raigad, which has been hosting the Mumbai division under-14 girls and boys basketball tournament for the last three years,Vibgyor was disqualified after it was discovered that the school had formed a team consisting of both CBSE and IGCSE board students. “Schools can form a team from only one board. They cannot mix students from more than one board,” said Thite VS, an officer representating DSO Raigad. He said that both Fr Agnel and Hiranandani Foundation lodged complaints regarding Vibgyor’s player selection on October 10, following which the DSO took a decision to debar the school.
Shim Mathew, principal of Vibgyor, said, “If they had any issue, they could have raised it on October 10, when our team reached the final.” Shim added, “When we won three seasons in past, they had no issues. Suddenly, they have issues. They informed us after nine days on Saturday evening when we could not take any steps.”
The parents let the match take place only after Laxman Kale, a senior PI from Vashi police station, reached the venue and asked them to take legal recourse. “Stopping the match cannot be a solution. They can approach the concerned officials for redressal,” said Kale.
As per the schedule, all the matches were to be played on October 10, when Vibgyor defeated Fr Agnel in the quarterfinal and Hiranandani Foundation in the semifinal to reach the final. “We were supposed to play the final with Bombay Scottish, but the DSO Raigad postponed the final match after three hours and told our players that they would be informed about the final later,” said one of the agitating parents, adding that, despite repeated attempts by the school to find out about the final, they were not given any definitive answer till an email about the school’s disqualification came on Saturday.
The parents, however, accepted that the DSO Raigad had warned them during the tournament about mixing players.
Meanwhile, Fr Agnel and Hiranandani replayed the semifinal on Saturday in the presence of Thite, with Hiranandani progressing to the final to play against Bombay Scottish. For the record, the Bombay Scottish girls pipped Hiranandani 20-18 in the much-delayed final.