There is a certain aura to conspiracy theories. Utterly dis-believable and yet it leaves a lingering sense of anticipation. There is absolutely no credo to these tell-tales and yet they leave a few lurking questions in our minds of the ‘What if’ variety. History is replete with such theories: Was Will Shakespeare actually Queen Elizabeth? Did Charlotte Bronte kill her sisters? And more recently the absolutely laughable and yet mind boggling theory that no one that pretty could actually have been that poor and that good at writing.

Yes, J K Rowling! The theory goes that she is obviously an actress hired by a panel of shadowy ghost writers. Or at least that’s what Norwegian film-maker Nina Grunfeld believes. For in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten Grunfeld advocated the theory that the Potter series was in fact written by a full-size team of people, all of whom were perfectly happy to receive no acclaim for the worldwide phenomenon. Rowling is an actress they hired to be the face of the series, and her story was cleverly crafted to give hope to impoverished single mothers everywhere.

While chewing on that thought, you could cast some attention to another such theory gaining muscle everyday albeit in the realm of sports. The hilarity of the theory is set against a growing number of stats and steely-jawed convictions among certain organisers in the corridors of power. Indian Super League is perhaps the best thing that happened to football in India after Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikary took it upon himself to spread the game from the British soldiers in 1880s. Well in between there were a few Herculean achievements like the IFA Shield win and Asian Games success in 1950. Then the game went bust.

As gratifying as it is, ISL has got the rumour mills on the move. And being spun with ferocious ease is the theory that some evil machinations are at play to stop the Ashwamedha of Atletico de Kolkata. What has really got the tongues wagging is the stat that ATK earned a whopping 5 yellow cards and a red in the last match against Chennaiyin itself. While the veracity of the yellows could be contested, there is no doubt that the red carding of Joffre was unwarranted and callous. TV replays showed Gourmangi Singh hacking down Joffre and the referee flashing the red on the victim to utter disbelief of even the Chennaiyin players. Such embarrassing was the situation that Mikael Silvestre was seen running up to Joffre and offering a few words of camaraderie.

Now let us look at a few other facts. AIFF has reduced the ban on Antonio Lopez Habas from four matches to two as upon investigation they found no evidence to the charges levelled against him of being physical. So why the hurry to ban him in the first place? Fikru started the season in sparkling form striking up a perfect combination with Luis Garcia. What we see next is a ban on him too. This has not only cost ATK four points but also cost the Ethiopian continuity. After the first three games ATK has never been allowed to field their first eleven and for the last two games the brain behind the team was disbarred from the sidelines. The team has picked up cards more frequently than the bridge players. While most of them could well be contested, their attitude towards the game has been dissected and the players’ integrity towards discipline questioned. Branded as the bad boys they have been sent to the gallows repeatedly.

And why just to keep them down and out. Well…well…well…that’s some theory!

It’s still a few matches before the curtains are drawn on the first ISL. Only when the hurly- burly is done will any of us be able to say whether this conspiracy theory to stop ATK sticks on or not. For now the galleries of the colossal Salt Lake Stadium are flush with waves of whispers of a wicked plot against their home team.

Well the Gods of the leather orb must be watching!

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