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Mohun Bagan and East Bengal hold several meetings with FSDL over future ISL participation

07:01 GMT+4 21/08/2019
Mohun Bagan East Bengal Kolkata Derby
The two Kolkata-giants have once again initiated talks with Indian Super League authorities for a probable entry into the league...

Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have met with the Football Sports Development Limited (FDSL) officials on two occassions in the past few weeks regarding their probable participation in the Indian Super League (ISL), Goal can confirm. 

These meetings have taken place between top officials of both the clubs and FSDL in Mumbai and Kolkata. Both the parties have shown equal desire to prune out the differences and chalk out a blueprint so that the two legacy clubs can participate in ISL, hopefully from the next season. 

The first meeting between East Bengal CEO Sanjit Sen and ISL CEO Devang Bhimjyani took place in Mumbai in the first week of August. Mohun Bagan officials also held talks with ISL a few days before. Although, when reached out to Bagan officials they refuted such claims. 

The second round of talks happened in Kolkata recently where East Bengal officials Debabrata Sarkar and Saikat Ganguly were present. Mohun Bagan also held separate discussions with ISL officials on the same day. 

"It is the wish of the AIFF and all the parties involved to come up with the best possible solution so that both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan join the ISL bandwagon. All the parties are working in unison and are hopeful of a positive resolution," informed another top official from one of the Kolkata giants.

The two clubs have also broken away from the union of six rebel I-League outfits and did not attend the meeting of these clubs on Tuesday in New Delhi. 

There had been several discussions in the past between the clubs and FSDL to join the ISL, but the franchise fee of Rs 15 Crore had been a deterrent. 

It must be remembered that Ajit Isaac, Chairman and Managing Director of Quess Corp Pvt. Ltd (investors of East Bengal) had held a meeting in February with the General Secretary of All India Football Federation (AIFF) Kushal Das and FSDL officials in Bengaluru to discuss the possibilities of joining the cash-rich league. The ISL was also set to float a request for a proposal to join the league after last season to accommodate East Bengal. 

But after the board meeting of Quess East Bengal in March, it was announced that the club would only bid for ISL if the terms are financially acceptable. Although in an Executive Committee meeting held a week later at the club tent, officials led by Debabrata Sarkar made it clear that East Bengal want to participate in ISL from the next season. 

"In today's meeting, we have unanimously decided to take part in ISL," confirmed Debabrata Sarkar after the executive committee meeting in March.  

With Quess all set to walk out of East Bengal in 2020, Sarkar and co. will once again be at the helm of affairs. They, along with their Mohun Bagan counterparts (Debashish Dutta and Srinjoy Bose) have already started dialogues with Devang Bhimjyani in a bid to see both clubs enter ISL from next season.

Now it remains to be seen whether both the parties are able to arrive at a consensus so that the two of the oldest clubs in India can ply their trade in ISL.