"East Bengal's future hangs in the balance"
The Managing Director of East Bengal's investors Shree Cement has confirmed that with the club officials not signing the term sheet, the club's future is still uncertain.
Shree Cement Managing Director Hari Mohan Bangur has admitted that the future of Kolkata legacy club East Bengal is still shrouded in doubt following an impasse between the club officials and his company who last year came on board as primary investors.
In a telephonic interview with TV9 Bangla, the well-known businessman and avid sports fan confirmed that the final agreement of the term-sheet is yet to be signed by the club officials even after an ultimatum had been issued by the investors regarding the same. As a result, building the team for next season has become a problem, something that was a major reason behind their disappointing 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) campaign as well after the club's last minute entry into the top tier football league in the country.
Speaking on this, Mr. Bangur said, "How would I give hope to the fans when I myself am not sure about the club's future? I know the supporters are waiting for an update on the situation but I don't want to make any false promises to them. The club officials' negligence is the reason why the situation has gone this far. They have been dilly-dallying on the term-sheet for over 6 months now, something that should not take more than a minute."
For the uninitiated, the term-sheet was signed by both parties in September last year just before East Bengal was officially included in the lineup for last season's ISL. Based on this, the club's sporting rights as well as other assets were transferred to the newly-formed Shree Cement East Bengal Foundation. However, trouble started brewing when club officials alleged that the terms on the final agreement were different from what had been proposed earlier, leading to a delay in the actual completion of the formalities.
Furthermore, all this uncertainty has resulted in German midfielder Matti Steinmann opting to leave the club and go back to A-League with star signing Bright Enobakhare also rumoured to be on his way out. When asked whether West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who played an important role in finding East Bengal investors last year, will be approached again, Mr. Bangur replied, "At this moment in time, we don't want to involve Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. There is still time and the issue will be resolved simply if the club officials sign the agreement."
More on this as the story develops.