India’s footballing giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have threatened to disrupt the Indian Super League (ISL) if their three demands are not met. The two clubs have picked up the documents to be part of the cash-rich league but haven’t submitted them and have said that they won’t do so until AIFF don’t budge.
The two Kolkata giants have asked for waving off of the franchise fee of Rs 15 crore. Apart from that, they have asked for money of the central pool and would like to play the tournament in Kolkata.
“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,” Mohun Bagan general secretary Anjan Mitra told reporters after a joint meeting with state body, Indian Football Association. “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,” he added.
Both clubs have been invited to participate in a stakeholders meeting to be also chaired by the officials from Asian Football Confederation (AFC) at its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on June 7 to discuss the roadmap for the future of Indian football. But the clubs haven’t decided if they are going to attend while IFA is set to send a letter to the AIFF asking for clarification on the “roadmap” promised to them by the president Praful Patel during a May 7 meeting.
There have been rumours of both ISL and I-League to run parallel to each other – as has been the process so far. But East Bengal’s Debabrata Sarkar ruled out that idea. “There’s no question of a parallel tournament. 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,” he said.
The clubs made clear that the venue is the secondary concern. The main issue at hand is the Rs 15 crore 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,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)