Monday, July 6, 2020

East Bengal face uncertain future as AIFF awaits clarity on ownership

Kolkata: City football giants East Bengal may be left with no competition to take part in after middle of July if they fail to inform about the club’s status and change of ownership structure to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and subsequently clear AFC’s club licensing criteria after having separated from Quess Corp.

IANS has reliably learnt that AIFF will send the club licensing agreement as per norm to all clubs by the first week of July, for them to sign and return it back by the middle of next month. This procedure is a must for all Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League clubs as they have to comply with club licensing criteria to take part in AIFF competitions.

East Bengal acrimoniously terminated their tie-up with Quess Corp, who had a 70 per cent stake in the club. They had a three-year deal but the Bengaluru-based investors exited on May 31.

But the same has not been informed to AIFF despite the sport’s governing body in the country asking them to inform the club’s status and change of ownership structure more than a month ago.

To acquire the AFC Club licensing for the 2020-21 season, East Bengal has to submit a valid declaration to the AIFF, outlining the ownership.

“We are working on it. We are in touch with AIFF and hopefully the matter will be resolved in time,” senior East Bengal official Debabrata Sarkar told IANS when quizzed about the status.

The club licensing agreement will be sent to ‘Quess East Bengal’ as per official communication since the AIFF has not been informed of any change of ownership, a source close to the development said.

It is still unclear whether Quess East Bengal FC would be diluted and the footballing rights be transferred back to East Bengal or the company will hold on to their shares in the hope of recovering losses.

Despite several attempts, Quess Corp officials could not be contacted.

East Bengal has had a sour relationship with Quess since the company came on board.

East Bengal finished runners-up in the 2018-19 I-League, but their performance dipped in the 2019-2020 season, finishing second best to arch-rivals Mohun Bagan.

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