Indian Football: East Bengal & Mohun Bagan meet Kushal Das, demand franchise fees waiver

AIFF Media
The inclination to participate in the Indian Super League is ever-growing for the Kolkata clubs, but they now put forth their concerns to Kushal Das..

The 2016/17 Indian domestic club football season is officially a thing of the past and both Kolkata clubs have wasted no time in getting down to business swiftly with respect to their participation in either the Indian Super League (ISL) or the I-League the forthcoming season onwards.

Barely half a day after losing the Federation Cup final to Bengaluru FC, officials of Mohun Bagan along with those of arch-rivals East Bengal flew down to New Delhi to meet All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary Kushal Das.

With the agenda being the viability of an induction into the ISL from the I-League, both the Kolkata clubs put forward their concerns in front of the AIFF chief on Monday.

A high-ranking East Bengal official spoke exclusively to Goal regarding the proceedings of the closed-door congregation soon after. 

"Firstly, both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan need to be in the top-tier of Indian football, no matter what. Both representation parties had a meeting overnight with the West Bengal Minister of Sports Aroop Biswas and he also promised to back us up in our meet with Mr. Das."

"What the ISL entails is the franchise system; both the clubs have been great ambassadors for Indian football for over a century so our first demand was the franchise fees waiver. We also suggested that both the clubs be allotted a sum of monies from the central pool of ISL revenue. See, both clubs are interested in play in the ISL but it is contingent to all these demands being met," he revealed.

However, the official maintained that both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan would have no problems in shifting base out of Kolkata for the first two seasons, given the five-year venue exclusivity clause that was agreed upon by the ISL management and Atletico de Kolkata in 2014.

"We will take care of our home grounds. That will not be a problem but Mr. Das promised to get back to us at the earliest. If these concerns are not taken care of or we do not get a positive feedback, we will be compelled to explore other options," concluded the East Bengal executive.

While East Bengal have already picked up ISL's 'Invitation to Bid' (ITB) document, Mohun Bagan are still weighing their options; the last date for submission remains Thursday, 25th May.

Meanwhile, with Das having left both the clubs in limbo, they will convene again in Kolkata on Tuesday, this time involving Aroop Biswas and IFA's Utpal Ganguli with Subrata Dutta in attendance at 4 PM.

The drama which seems to have reached its tipping point with the last date to bid fast approaching, the aftermath of the meeting will in all probability decide if at all East Bengal and Mohun Bagan would be a part of the extended ISL from 2017/18.