Three matches into the new I-League season, Mohammedan Sporting players have boycotted training over non-payment of dues, according to XtraTime Bangla. The players allege that payments for most players are due since November while those who have joined after that haven’t been paid at all.
The 130-year-old club from Kolkata recently qualified for the I-League after a successful qualifying campaign in October in which they went past teams like Bhawanipore FC, Bengaluru United FC and Garhwal FC. The club management also announced new investors just before their qualifying campaign in the form of sports management firm Bunkerhill. However, the pandemic has hit the club hard and with the final paperwork with new investors yet to go through, player payments have been in limbo.
The investors reportedly gave a lump sum amount ahead of the start of the I-League with which a few players’ salaries were paid. However, since then nothing has been forthcoming amidst the tense financial situation in the entire country. Technical director Dipendu Biswas was quite upfront in his assessment of the situation and acknowledged that this was a mistake from the club’s end.
“The players have given their 100% so far. They have played extremely well to put up five points on the board from the first three games. That is why, as an official at the club I’m extremely sorry that it has come to this. However, we’ve spoken to the players and assured them that all the due payments will be made by the 23rd of January,” he said. The Black Panthers have made a steady start upon returning to the I-League. They won their first game against debutants Sudeva FC before drawing the next two against Churchill Brothers and TRAU FC respectively. They are currently third on the points table behind Churchill and Real Kashmir FC.