According to AIFF Secretary-General Kushal Das, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Indian Football Association (IFA) would not intervene in the present dispute between the East Bengal executive committee and its backer Shree Cement. Hundreds of East Bengal fans descended to Kolkata’s streets on Wednesday to protest the club’s Executive Committee’s refusal to sign the final agreement with Shree Cement. “I’ve heard there was violence today, and it’s obviously not good,” Das told ANI. “There’s no question of AIFF or IFA getting involved. There’s an agreement made between an investor and the club, and there’s no locus standi for anyone to come in.”
He also revealed that the Indian Super League’s eighth edition will begin on November 19 in Goa. He went on to say that if East Bengal does not resolve the matter as soon as possible, the scenario will be dire.
“Yes, there is no other option, we have to play the ISL in a similar environment in Goa like last year. The tournament will start on November 19. As for East Bengal, they will have to form a team, the transfer window finishes on August 1. Unless this is resolved, it would be difficult for them to form a team,” he pointed.
The future of SC East Bengal in the ISL is questionable, with club officials and primary sponsors Shree Cement at odds over the non-signing of a contract.
According to sources close to the investors who spoke to ANI, they want the complete deal inked before proceeding.
“Shree Cement’s stance has been very clear from the first day. They want the definitive final agreement to be signed as per the term sheet, as was agreed upon. They are here to help East Bengal in every way possible and know what the club stands for,” the source said.
“They invested roughly Rs 54 crore in the first season and are willing to go to any length to aid the club this season and beyond,” the source added. “However, the signing of the definitive agreement must be the first move in that direction.”
East Bengal’s board of directors opted not to sign the final agreement with investor Shree Cement Limited on Friday. The decision was made at a spur-of-the-moment meeting, and all 24 executive members signed a statement expressing their agreement.