Mohun Bagan legends fight to keep their club in I-League - report

Players who represented the Green and Maroon with distinction launched a signature campaign to appeal to the AIFF to review the ban on the Kolkata club...
Mohun Bagan are gaining an increasing number of supporters in their cause of convincing the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to review the ban slapped on the Kolkata club that prevents them from participating in the I-League till 2015. The Mariners were found guilty of violating I-League rules during the ill-tempered Kolkata Derby which saw Bagan midfielder Syed Rahim Nabi being injured after being struck by a missile thrown from the crowd that resulted in the Green and Maroon choosing not to take the field during the second half of the game.

Just a day after Dempo SC chairman and AIFF Vice-President from the West Zone Shrinivas Dempo remarked on the severity of the ban, a group of Mohun Bagan legends who served the Mariners with pride during the 1980's came together to launch a signature campaign on a letter of appeal to the AIFF requesting them to re-consider the ban on India's oldest football club. The Mariners had earlier drafted an official appeal against the ban and sent it to the AIFF along with a emotional letter from injured squad member Syed Rahim Nabi.

Shrinivas Dempo felt the ban on Bagan was too harsh

Six former Bagan players and India internationals namely - Subrata Bhattacharya, Manas Bhattacharya, Bidesh Bose, Prasanta Banerjee, Shyamal Banerjee, N Ulganathan and former club General Secretary Balaram Chowdhury were present on the occasion, held at the Mohun Bagan lane, a place in North Kolkata which was believed to be the birthplace of the club. Over 1000 of the club's supporters and members took part in the programme.

Manas and Bidesh will be travelling to New Delhi on Monday to hand over the letter to the AIFF hierarchy, a day before the Executive Committee meets to discuss Bagan's official appeal against the suspension.

The organisers of Friday's campaign have also decided to hold a peaceful march on Monday, from Goshto Pals statue to the club gate as part of their plea to the AIFF for reconsidering the ban alongwith protesting against the club administration.

Current club General Secretary Anjan Mitra and finance secretary Debashish Dutta have been in the firing line of former club officials and players who are not happy with the way the duo handled the situation on Derby day which was reiterated by Executive Committee member Atin Ghosh.

"These officials dont know how to run a club like Mohun Bagan. They must take responsibility and step down immediately," said a fan to The Times of India.

Former Mohun Bagan player and coach Subrata Bhattacharya called for former players to be involved in the running of the club.

"Everywhere in the world, top clubs have former players in administration. It should be the same in Mohun Bagan also and that will increase the acceptability of the club amongst its fans. I have played for this club for over 17 years and have been associated with it as coach for more than six years. My involvement and my passion for the club is much more than many of present officials," Bhattacharya told The Times of India.

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