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What East Bengal need to do to secure ISL entry this season

What East Bengal need to do to secure ISL entry this season


Published: 3 Sep 2020 8:42 AM GMT

On Wednesday, after weeks of uncertainty, East Bengal FC finally announced that they have secured Shree Cement, India’s 3rd biggest cement manufacturing company, as their investors — with help from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Sourav Ganguly as well as Football Sports Development Ltd. (FSDL) — in a landmark deal.

As reported by us, Shree Cement, which had an annual turnover of approximately Rs 12,000 crore in Financial Year 2020, picked up a majority stake in the club.

While the CM assured that the Red and Golds, under Shree Cement’s umbrella, would join the Indian Super League (ISL), there still remains some ambiguity as to when the transition would actually happen.


Agreed, securing new investors capable of providing enough financial assistance was the first step and perhaps, the most difficult one. But still, the job is only half done. If East Bengal want to realise their dreams of joining the country’s elite league the very season that arch nemesis Mohun Bagan managed to achieve it, then they still have to cover a few steps meticulously.

It is no secret that to enter the ISL, there is a well-defined process that any interested party would have to follow. In 2017, when Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC joined the league, both parties had to go through the process and East Bengal would have to do the same.

For Mohun Bagan, the circumstances were different since they merged with an already existing ISL franchise, ATK FC, to form a new identity, ATK Mohun Bagan FC. Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd., the company which owned ATK FC and had the rights to a team in the ISL, was dissolved. A new one, ATK Mohun Bagan Pvt. Ltd, was formed and the playing rights were transferred.

eb-mb Will we see a Kolkata Derby in ISL 2020-21? (Source: AIFF)

East Bengal, on the other hand, have work to do. First and foremost, they have to form a company on paper. As of now, only an MoU has been signed between Shree Cement and the club. Once the new company is formed, FSDL can be expected to open up the bidding process.

The club will then have to pick up the bid document, i.e. the Request for Proposal (RFP) document, and formally submit it. An independent panel, likely to be Ernst & Young (EY), the same third party which helped FSDL evaluate the bid documents in 2017 when BFC and JFC entered the league, will then review and evaluate the document submitted by East Bengal.

The entire process may well take up to 2-3 weeks. With the start of the seventh season of the ISL planned November-end, there’s still quite some time at hand. East Bengal would no doubt need to begin their plans for the transfer window, the deadline for which is October 20th.

Also read: Inside Story — How Mamata Banerjee pioneered East Bengal’s ‘possible’ entry into ISL

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