West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee once again has come forward and assured the fans of East Bengal that the club would play in the Indian Super League despite its management’s ugly tussle with investors Shree Cement Limited (SCL). Banerjee, who had played a key role in the tie-up of SCL with East Bengal in their last minute bid to play in ISL last season, took a dig at the club management for being adamant in not signing the final agreement.
“Ektu chere khelun, ektu chere khelle ota hoe jabe (Allow some space. It will be alright then,” Mamata said during a programme at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here. The club’s participation in India’s top tier league for the upcoming season was put in jeopardy as East Bengal club executive members refused to sign the final agreement with Shree Cement, claiming discrepancy in the initial term sheet.
The initial document was signed by both parties in the presence of Banerjee in September 2020, that paved the way for a dramatic entry of East Bengal into ISL. “Last time also I had interfered at the last moment as there was no other way after Mohun Bagan had tied up with ATK. Now also as per my information, they will be able to play in ISL. It’s about being flexible, and allowing some space (to SCL),” Banerjee said.
“I want the Bengal clubs to compete in the ISL, and play a proactive role in the development of Indian football.” She said the “little differences” will be solved and soon the East Bengal fans will have their smiles back on their faces and the club will play in the ISL. “Taking responsibility for five years is also not a joke. The investor has to spend close to Rs 50 crores. Last time we had convinced them to come and invest in the club.” Banerjee’s assurances came less than a month after two groups of East Bengal supporters had clashed in the Maidan. One group had planned a protest against the club officials and demanded Banerjee’s intervention to end the logjam.