East Bengal’s board of directors voted on Friday not to sign the final deal with investor Shree Cement Limited, escalating the ongoing controversy over the transfer of sporting rights. The decision was made during a hastily called meeting in which 24 executive members signed a declaration that could jeopardize their membership in the Indian Super League’s top division.
“We will not sign the agreement where the members will lose their fundamental rights, where the club will be permanently handed over and we will lose the right over ground, logo, tent,” East Bengal general secretary Kalyan Majumdar said in a statement. Outside the tent, club supporters chanted slogans and demanded assistance from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Following the exit of former investor Quess Corp last year, East Bengal made a last-minute entry into the ISL when SCL was brought on board thanks to state chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s intervention.
The cement giants signed a term sheet with the club in September last year, apparently transferring the red-and-sporting gold’s rights as well as all of its assets and properties (including intellectual property) to the newly-formed partnership. However, the club’s administration has failed to sign a formal binding agreement, resulting in the stalemate.