Financial uncertainty that has plagued Indian football in the past has reared its head once again. Kolkata-based club United SC, currently sixth in the I-League standings, have lacked sponsorship for the last few months and this has taken a toll on the clubs finances.
United officials say that a decision regarding disbandment of the club may be taken in the near future if the lack of funds continues for an extended period of time. Ever since the club parted ways with their previous sponsors Prayag group over a deposit collection controversy five months ago, they have been seeking new sponsorship to no avail.
Now, United's Dutch coach Eelco Schattorie, has also gone on to admitted to The Telegraph, that the present financial predicament of the club has taken a toll on the club’s players and a subsequent dip in form is due to their motivation level being at its lowest.
He confessed that while the loss to Mohun Bagan was horrendous, the drab draw against Dempo SC showed that uncertainty had replaced hope in his players’ minds which has caused them to underperform.
“At present, we desperately need a positive energy to get the team back on track. But I don’t see anything around. I’m not blaming anyone because people are trying for a solution. You can’t just rely on hope to pull you through. Once the hope vanishes, everyone becomes de-motivated and frustrated. And there’s every reason for the hope to vanish. Due to the prevailing situation, I feel there’s insecurity amongst players and that could be the main reason why the team is not performing up to the mark,” explained the Dutch coach.
“We’re really frustrated over the entire matter. It’s not possible to run a club solely on borrowed money. It’s getting difficult each passing day. We want to keep hoping for the best instead of throwing in the towel. But nothing positive seems to be happening. If things carry on in this manner, we’ll have to give up,” exclaimed the club’s general secretary Alokesh Kundu.
“We feel extremely bad for the players. You can’t expect them to deliver every time if you’re not able to pay them properly,” added the official.
“Day-to-day survival is becoming difficult because of the present circumstances. Before the season began, we had got in touch with some companies to settle our sponsorship issue, but they backed out at the last moment," he concluded.
"Releasing all the foreign players in the squad and playing only with locals is possible in a tournament like the CFL. But in a tournament like I-League where there’s immense competition, you do need the services of overseas players. You cannot succeed without them,” another club official pointed out.
Things have gone so far that Siddharth Bhattacharya had to appease and mollify hitman Ranti Martins after news emerged that East Bengal officials had gotten in touch with the Nigerian over a possible move to the Red and Golds end of Kolkata in the January transfer window. However, the team director later confirmed that Martins would stay at the club no matter what.
“I’m not interested if any team has approached Ranti or not. All I can say is that he has promised a better performance in the remaining matches,” clarified Bhattacharya.
However, Ranti sung a different tune while stating, “I can’t comment on offers because it’s my personal matter. But I may have to weigh my options during the transfer window.”
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