Kolkata: Kolkata football giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have threatened to disrupt the ISL if their three-point demands aren’t fulfilled by the AIFF.
The meeting of both these clubs with the IFA was attended by over 18 officials from both these rival clubs at the end of which, Anjan Mitra, the general secretary of Mohun Bagan said, “We cannot tolerate AIFF’s torture anymore. We have just decided one thing in our meeting — ‘No Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, no ISL’. We will not allow ISL here.”
“We will not allow business in the name of football. Money can’t buy you everything. Football will be played like football. We want all of your cooperation in such a movement” Mitra added further.
The Kolkata clubs had put forward three demands- the main and most important one being that their franchise fee of ₹ 15 crore be waived. The other two demands were that they should be given money from the central pool and also that they would like to play in Kolkata.
Both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have been invited to take part in all stakeholders meeting under the patronage of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on June 7 at it’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the way forward for the future of Indian football.
But both these clubs are yet to decide whether to attend the meeting or not. Instead the IFA (Indian Football Association) is all set to write a letter to the AIFF enquiring about the ‘roadmap’ that President Praful Patel had promised to send during their meeting on May 7.
Utpal Ganguly, the IFA secretary, said, “You, (AIFF) are yet to share the roadmap, you have to first share it. It’s purely a domestic issue between the clubs and the AIFF. It’s not an AFC issue.”
He added further, “We will decide after getting your reply. Hope the AIFF will sort this out after receiving the letter.”
The AIFF however has brought up the idea of the two leagues to run in parallel with the deadlock prevailing over the inclusion of two of India’s most historically rich clubs in the ISL.
“There’s no question of a parallel tournament” said East Bengal official Debabrata Sarkar.
He went on to add, “The (May 7) meeting was an eyewash. If Praful babu (AIFF president) wants, we can play ISL. He doesn’t want, so it’s not happening. In my personal opinion, he’s the only hurdle…We know we have the support of the millions of our supporters. However it’s not the time for protest.”
Mohun Bagan financial secretary Debashish Dutta believes that this is a move made to highlight the importance of the ISL and reduce the significance of the I-League.
He said, “They are promoting ISL in a big way, making it commercially, visually the No. 1 tournament. It’s a move to dilute I-League…There is no taker for I-League. Why two parallel tournaments? It’s a way of compromise. The motive is to have a long tournament after all.”
However he eased out on the demand to play in Kolkata but strictly stuck by the issue of the franchise fee. “The Chief Minister (Mamata Banerjee) said ‘don’t worry about venue we will bring out a solution by talking to three clubs (with Atletico de Kolkata)’. Venue will not be a problem. It’s secondary. Primary concern is the franchise fees.”
Two foreign players drop CV’s at East Bengal
Two foreign players -Ghanaian international striker, Murtala Seidu Bancey and Zambian defender Ziyo Tembo had their CV’S dropped at East Bengal by agent Stephen Abarowei for considering these players for the upcoming CFL.
Former East Bengal player Alvito D’ Cunha told Xtratime, “He (Stephen) is spreading a rumour that the players are coming to East Bengal but it is totally a hype which is created by him.”
He also said , “You have to understand East Bengal is a big club and the players who plays here are very good players too. We will study each profile thoroughly and the decide who will come for next season.”
East Bengal, who had a poor I-League have already signed defender Lalramchullova, winger Brandon Vanlalremdika and Richard Costa. They have also assured the services of Mahmoud Al Amnah- Champions Aizawl FC’s best defender from last season.