What is the impasse between East Bengal and Shree Cement and why fans’ protest took a violent turn-Sports News , Justnewsday

By | July 22, 2021

What is the impasse between East Bengal and Shree Cement and why fans’ protest took a violent turn-Sports News , Justnewsday

East Bengal’s ongoing problems with their investors has put the team’s participation in this year’s Indian Super League in doubt

Justnewsday Explains: What is the impasse between East Bengal and Shree Cement and why fans' protest took a violent turn

File image of East Bengal players. Image Courtesy: Twitter @sc_eastbengal

The row between East Bengal football club and their investors Shree Cement Limited took an ugly turn on Wednesday when two groups of supporters clashed with each other near the club tent at the Maidan.

Kolkata police had to intervene with the lathi-charge to control the situation.

According to reports, five people were injured and taken to the hospital while around 15 were arrested after the incident.

East Bengal’s ongoing problems with their investors have put the team’s participation in this year’s Indian Super League in doubt with the new season scheduled to begin from 19 November.

What happened on Wednesday?

Responding to a protest call, hundreds of fans gathered in front of the club tent on Wednesday and raised slogans against the club’s officials. They demanded the club sign the final agreement with Shree Cement which will ensure the team’s participation in the upcoming ISL season.

Other demands included the resignation of a few senior club officials and the intervention of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to sort out the issues.

A section of fans, in support of the club’s stance of not signing the agreement, also made their presence felt at the venue. Later, both sets of supporters clashed and it snowballed into violence and mounted police had to resort to lathi-charge.

The police have said that arrests had to be made because a few of them started damaging the vehicles and also broke the COVID-19 guidelines.

What are the problems between East Bengal and their investors?

The East Bengal officials, led by president Dr Pranab Dasgupta and 24 executive members, issued a statement last week that they will not sign the final binding agreement with Shree Cement Limited. General secretary Kalyan Majumdar also said that the agreement does not protect the rights of the existing club members.

“We will not sign the agreement where the members will lose their fundamental rights, where the club will be permanently handed over and we will lose the right over ground, logo, tent,” Majumder said.

Shree Cement acquired 76 percent stake in the club, having signed an initial term sheet in September last year, which led to the club’s first foray in the ISL.

However, a final agreement had to be signed before the beginning of the new season to ensure the club starts their preparation. East Bengal officials accuse Shree Cement of changing the terms from the initial term sheet. Shree Cement, on the other hand, has said that there have been no changes to the terms that were agreed between both the parties.

“First and foremost the investor has not got any official intimation from the club that it would not sign the final agreement. It has just put out a media release signed by the secretary. The investors’ stand is clear. Unless the final agreement is signed there would not be any further investment. We would also not transfer the sporting rights to the club unless the money pumped in last year is paid,” a representative of Shree Cement told The Telegraph.

What is AIFF’s position?

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Indian Football Association will not interfere in the issue, according to a report by the ANI.

“Yeah, I have heard that there was violence today. It is certainly not good. There is no question of AIFF or IFA getting into it. There is an agreement that is signed between an investor and the club. There is no locus standi of anybody to come in,” Das told ANI.

“As for East Bengal, they will have to form a team, the transfer window finishes on August 1. Unless this is resolved, it would be difficult for them to form a team,” Das added.

Best case scenario for East Bengal

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee played a pivotal role in facilitating a deal between East Bengal and Shree Cement last season. The fans have demanded the CM’s intervention once again to achieve a breakthrough in the current impasse. Time’s running out for East Bengal so the fans are hoping CM interferes into the matter and safeguard the team’s future and also clear the obstacle with regard to their participation in the ISL.

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