East Bengal crisis: ‘A ray of hope emerges’ but no solution on the horizon

East Bengal club executive members had refused to sign the final agreement with Shree Cement, claiming discrepancy in the initial term sheet.

The ongoing tug of war between East Bengal club officials and Shree Cement continued past Friday evening even after there was a ray of hope for a solution. This development comes after sources close to the club confirmed that there will be two meetings held on Friday at the East Bengal club. First, a meeting of contract mediators with club officials was held which was supposed to be followed by a meet of the working committee of the club in the evening. However, the executive committee meeting was called off because there was no headway in the previous conference.

Earlier a top club official had spoken to indianexpress.com and said, “A few points are remaining to be agreed upon but there is a ray of hope that we can see. That is why we are holding two meetings. We are trying to resolve the matter and that is why we are meeting those helping us in the process of resolution. The club is very hopeful at the moment.”

The same view was echoed by Srenik Sett, advisor of Shree Cement, who is also a Life Member of East Bengal. “Something positive will come out and supporters want to see East Bengal play football. They are not interested in all these matters. So yes a piece of positive news seems on the horizon,” he told this news website on Friday afternoon.

But after Friday’s meet, the main bone of contention has become the rights over the club tent.

“They are asking for irrevocable and perpetual transfer of all rights including members rights, maidan tent premises. Premises of the EB Club known as the Tent (East Bengal Ground), located at the Maidan in the city of Kolkata, which include the following (and any and all other facilities/rooms/fixtures)-

(Below is an updated layout as on the Signing Date):
• Coaches Room
• Dressing Room with Toilet Facilities
• Visitors Dressing Room
• Referees Room
• Match Commissioner Room
• Gym
• Football Ground 1
• Football Ground 2 (Rampart) Practice Arena for Junior Team
• Cricket Practice Arena
• Floodlights
• Press Room
• Jacuzzi
• Sectional Secretary’s Room
• General Secretary & President Room
• General Secretary & President Office
• Club Accounts Section
• Room
• Library/ Reading Room and Print Media Chamber
• Members Lounge
• Cafeteria
• Paltu Das Memorial Room (Social Activities)
• Women Members Room
• Room for Officials and office bearers
• Members Galler

“We can not allow this because there is an ownership issue with the tent. Investors need to understand this. Even if this means East Bengal won’t play football for a couple of years in ISL then so be it. But how can we do something which will land us in trouble in the future,” said a top club official to this website on conditions of anonymity.

The ongoing tussle has also put the club’s participation in the Indian Super League in doubt 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.

But over the past few months, club officials have raised questions about multiple terms of the contract. This resulted in massive outrage among fans which boiled over on the streets as clashes erupted between the supporters of both sides of the club. Social media is also divided on the matter.

Meanwhile, several reports emerged over the past two days claiming Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee felt that the contract proposed by Shree Cement is unfair, and hence she has instructed the East Bengal club not to sign on any such contract involving. However, these reports have also been rubbished by sources close to both parties.

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