Seven clubs from the I-League, namely, Chennai City, Mohun Bagan, NEROCA, Aizawl, Gokulam Kerala, Minerva Punjab and East Bengal joined forces to collectively withdraw their participation from the Super Cup citing various ideological differences with the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
This move came with only three days before the first game of the knockout competition which is scheduled for Friday, 15 March in Bhubaneshwar. However, there was a twist in the tale late on Wednesday night after five of the seven teams officially released a statement.
Quess East Bengal FC (QEBFC), the joint-venture between investors Quess Corp and East Bengal Club, under the name which the East Bengal football team operates were part of the decision to pull out of the Super Cup. But, it appears that certain board members were unaware of the decision taken by the QEBFC board.
In a letter addressed to the media, East Bengal club General Secretary, Kalyan Majumdar mentioned: "We have come to know from the newspapers that some I-League teams decided not to take part in the forthcoming Super Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar. We have the tradition and legacy to not step back from participating keeping in view of the fact that discrepancies, if any, can be sorted out by discussions and deliberations.
"Though we are looking forward to a board meeting with our Chairman (Ajit Issac) which did not take place in the last 8-9 months but we are certainly optimistic that the issue will be resolved suitably soon."
Majumdar is one of the eight members of the QEBFC board which comprises four each from both factions. However, the share distribution is 70-30 in favour of the Bengaluru-based business firm.
After a season where the team ended runners-up in the I-League under new coach Alejandro Menendez and is all but set to pick up bid documents for the Indian Super League (ISL), the communication, or lack thereof at the board level puts East Bengal in poor light.
It is quite astonishing to see that there is no co-ordination, communication or unity between the board members. There are two different statements emanating from the board members, which frankly is baffling and throws up question on the club's professionalism.
The contradiction is detrimental to all stakeholders of QEBFC as the football team aims to chart a new beginning in the ISL next season after failing to win a single national league title in the last 15 years.
One also has to take note of the fact that none of the other clubs involved in this fiasco have put out two different statements such as this.
Meanwhile the standoff between the aforementioned clubs and the AIFF authorities take place, it will be more than interesting to keep an eye out on developments surrounding East Bengal's internal damage recovery, if any.