Former East Bengal footballers take stand for the club’s legacy

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Mehtab Hossain

Kolkata: The ongoing fiasco between East Bengal and their sponsors Shree Cement took a turn for a little better as several former players gathered at the club tent on Monday including former skipper Mehtab Hossain to discuss and hopefully find a solution.

The players in unison released a statement urging the club and sponsors to reach a negotiated decision and start preparing for the eighth season of the Indian Super League. The statement also read a section seeking Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s attention into the matter.

The tussle between the century-old East Bengal and sponsors Shree Cement over the authority of the sporting rights reached an extent that has put the future of the club under doubt. With no intentions of building the team for the upcoming season, the internal affairs have strongly jeopardized the athletic approach of the club.

“During the club’s difficult time, we the former players of East Bengal met today at the club premise. We are all aware of the ongoing problem between the club and their investor and how that has cast doubt over the participation of the club in ISL and other important tournaments,” the statement read. 

“After going through the proposed final agreement we have concluded that the club officials should have been more careful while signing the initial term sheet because this is a one-sided contract. In any agreement, both parties should have equal rights when it comes to exiting the joint-venture that is not there in the agreement.

“Also, a few more clauses go against a century-old club like East Bengal, like the right to the club ground and logo which will be transferred to the investor forever. This cannot be accepted,” it further read. 

“In the proposed final agreement, several clauses are further complicated, and it is difficult for the club officials to accept them. We the former players of this club, request Mr Hari Mohan Bangur to resolve via discussion so that East Bengal can play again.”

“Also, we would like to draw the kind attention of the respected Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee on this issue and will seek an appointment with her so that the issue gets resolved soon,” the statement said. 

It can be hoped that the action taken by the former players would create an impact that would catalyse the process of finding a solution and also bring it to the notice of Banerjee who played a huge role in the East Bengal-Shree Cement initial agreement last time after the departure of Quess Corp. 

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