At a time when speculations are rife on whether East Bengal FC will debut in the Indian Super League (ISL) this season or not, they have received a major helping hand from West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, as per a report in the Times of India.
As per the report, the chief minister apparently called up All India Football Federation president Praful Patel a few days ago to discuss East Bengal's push for playing in the country's top flight, following in the footsteps of age-old rivals Mohun Bagan.
Senior East Bengal official Debabrata Sarkar was quoted saying, "Yes, it's true that the chief minister has called up the AIFF president and she has been kind enough to take up our issue with him. The AIFF chief has told her to look into our cause with a positive frame of mind."
With Mohun Bagan set to feature in the ISL from next season, having merged with RP-SG owned ATK FC, it is imperative for the Red and Golds to join the cash-rich league as well. The centenary-old club has been pinning hopes on the CM's words of encouragement.
East Bengal (Source: Facebook)
"Being a heritage club, East Bengal will always look to play in the top league. The fact that both the chief minister as well as sports minister (Aroop Biswas) has taken up our cause with the powers-that-be in Indian football, it's natural that we make room for playing in the ISL. This is why, we are leaving no stone unturned in achieving this goal," Sarkar, who had confident said that the club will play in the ISL a few days back, added.
The report adds that East Bengal have already sent a letter to Patel, seeking news of "further progress" in this respect.
At the moment, it looks like the club's participation in the ISL largely depends on whether they are able to onboard sponsors during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic or not. As per the report, the Football Sports Development Ltd (FSDL), which runs the ISL, and AIFF mandarins are keen on taking East Bengal's cause into cognizance.
East Bengal officials, on their part, hope that Banerjee's "intervention" should brighten their prospects.