The 23-member team was offloaded at the Chhatrapati Shivaji airport in Mumbai.
Though the private airline did not reveal the identify of the unruly passengers, sources said that they were members of Churchill Brothers, a leading Goan football club.
“Some passengers misbehaved with and abused our crew on board flight SG 804. Our pilot took a decision to offload them in Mumbai during the scheduled transit halt,” a SpiceJet spokesperson told news agency PTI.
The pilot decided to deplane the misbehaved passengers in the interest of safety of other passengers, the spokesperson said, adding that the matter is under investigation with the authorities concerned.
Meanwhile, Churchill Brothers football club president Joaquim Alemao has threatened to file a defamation suit against SpiceJet for the incident. Alemao told IANS that skipper Odafe Onyeka Okolie, a Nigerian, accidentally touched an air hostess and apologised for the action.
The team was travelling to Kolkata via Mumbai on a SpiceJet flight for their I-League match, due on Thursday. The players were questioned at the Mumbai airport police station.
“The matter was sorted out between Odafe and the air hostess. But another male crew started shouting and forced the hostess to take up the matter seriously and then the airlines offloaded the whole team from the aircraft. This was ridiculous,” Alemao said.
“Do they think there is a bedroom on the aeroplane? Why did they have to deboard everybody when the complaint was only against three persons? This is a clear case of harassment. I am going to file a defamation case against Spice Jet,” Alemao added.
The club president said that the defending champions have lost valuable time ahead of their crucial I-League match.
“It is a crucial match. We have already wasted practice sessions because of this mess. It was not even molestation. How can they offload the whole team for the fault of just one member? And having known Odafe, I can tell you that he is not the kind of person to indulge in all such activities. He has set an example not only on the field but also off the field as well,” he said.