Bengaluru: Footballer Anas Edathodika has said he is innocent and was wrongly punished with a three-match ban and Rs 1 lakh fine during the Super Cup quarter-final earlier this year.

Anas, who is set to turn out for Kerala Blasters FC in the Indian Super League (ISL), said he is “feeling bad” that he will have to sit out three matches in the 2018-19 season.

The 31-year-old defender was fined Rs 1 lakh and suspended for three matches by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for his involvement in a scuffle in the tunnel during Jamshedpur FC-FC Goa quarter-final in Super Cup.

In that match in April, six players, including Anas, were red-carded. Back then, Anas was playing for Jamshedpur.

“I was not angry. I never get angry with anyone. It is like this, 'if there is a fight… if police don't find any culprit, whoever is seen at the spot will be arrested'. If you look at the video closely, you can see that I am pulling someone from the fight, I was never trying to hit anyone,” Anas said during ISL “Media Day” in Bengaluru on Thursday.

He said he did not want to blame anyone and asked the officials and fans to check the match video and form their own conclusions.

“I am not blaming anyone. I am feeling bad that I have to miss three matches due to the ban. Kerala Blasters have signed me up. Technically, I am not a good player. But I do a lot of hard work on the ground. Kerala Blasters spent a lot of money and hired me. But I am feeling bad that I can't play three matches. I am talking to you freely. I did no wrong. I am not blaming anyone but I want to say that nobody helped me,” he added.

Presenting his case further, Anas said that that he had only tried to tell the opposition (FC Goa) players not to target team-mate and goalkeeper Subrata Paul.

“Subrata Paul is a very senior player. I respect him. A lot of young players from the opposition team targeted him. I told them, he is a senior player, it is not right to pick on him. I told them he has won a lot of awards, he deserves respect. That is what I told two to three young players (of Goa). Usually, arguments happen during matches but it never gets physical. On the field, players are aggressive and it ends there. I want to reiterate again, I did not hit anyone. I don't know why I was banned for three matches. It is only for me that there has been Rs 1 lakh fine and not for other players. If you check the video you will know who beat who. Even the Goa coach Derrick Pereira knows which player I was holding. Sorry, I did not hit anyone,” Anas explained.

When asked whether there was any hearing from the officials to present his side of the story, Anas said there was nothing.

“I did not attend any hearing. I did not get a chance to present my side of the story. I was just told that, on disciplinary grounds, I have been banned for three matches and Rs 1 lakh fine,” he said.

He made it clear that he was just being “honest” and these things did not affect him personally or his game.

“All these things don't make a difference to me. I am a straightforward guy. Even if they hold this against me for talking to the media and not pick for the national team, I am not bothered. Because, I am an honest guy and speak this way. I don't have any problem with the ban because I want to say it again, I have done no wrong. Whoever, it maybe, even if it is my parents, I speak the same way. I am speaking honestly,” he said.

[Anas Edathodika (R) in the featured image on top; courtesy: ISL]