In what will come as a huge relief for football fans in India, the highly anticipated match between Barcelona Legends vs Mohun Bagan Legends side has finally gotten the green light by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the match will be held as per schedule – on September 28. Clearing the air of uncertainty around the game, Mohun Bagan club secretary Anjan Mitra revealed that a NOC (No Objection Certificate) has been obtained from the AIFF and the match will be held one day before the start of the Indian Super League (ISL) season at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium) in Kolkata.
Earlier, AIFF had stalled proceedings by stating that the organisers are yet to take permission from the football’s governing bodies. “No permission is required from FIFA, UEFA or the Spanish Federation. AIFF told us earlier that we need permission from them and they wrote to FIFA. Now we have got the clearance. We will officially get the NOC officially within a couple of days (most likely on Monday) from AIFF. Mohun Bagan also does not need separate permission and everything is settled and the match is on,” Mitra confirmed.
A couple of days ago, Barcelona sent a letter stating that legends coming to India do not require any such permissions from FIFA, UEFA, or Spanish Football Federation. The letter was forwarded to AIFF and IFA.
Explaining the confusion earlier, event organisers Football Next’s Koushik Moulik said, “The issue was that when Mohun Bagan approached IFA for the match, the request was forwarded to AIFF. We already had the ground, police permission. A joint cooperation letter was also signed with ATK addressed to the Sports Dept of Government of West Bengal stating that there is no ambiguity between us and matches can be held back to back at the Yuva Bharati. AIFF then sent a letter to Mohun Bagan which said that permission was needed from FIFA, UEFA and Federation. They also requested us that if the match could be shifted to the 24th or 25th of September because of the ISL. Mohun Bagan then clarified to AIFF that the match was already fixed before the ISL schedule and there was a mutual agreement between ATK and MB to conduct back to back games. It is just unnecessary confusion. But I am happy that the confusion has been cleared and fans will get their money’s worth.”
Barca legends side includes Argentina star forward Javier Saviola, Brazilian midfielder Jose Edmilson and Portugal winger Simao Sabrosa, Roger Garcia, Juliano Belletti, and Fernando Navarro. The Mariners have released a 51-man initial squad which includes the likes of Jose Ramirez Barreto, IM Vijayan, Bhaichung Bhutia, Deepak Mondal, Surkumar Singh, among others.