In an interesting turn of events, a top official from the Indian Super League's (ISL) governing body Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) denied reports of India's premier football league going ahead with only ten teams for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
Chirag Tanna clarified that there is no official confirmation on only ten teams featuring in the ISL, which is expected to be held between November and March, delayed by the coronavirus pandemic in a single venue, behind closed doors.
Speaking to a Bengali news television channel, Chirag Tanna indicated that the doors are not yet shut for East Bengal participating in the upcoming season of the ISL.
"I cannot reveal anything in detail. But, there is not much truth to what is being reported in the news," he said.
It was reported by various news outlets on Saturday that the ISL in a meeting with its stakeholders had informed that the seventh season will consist of the existing ten clubs. FSDL is already working on drawing up a fixture list and will announce the venue and schedule by 31 August.
This meant that the doors would close on East Bengal joining the ISL bandwagon. The pressure on the red-and-golds have increased after arch-rivals Mohun Bagan teamed up with defending ISL champions ATK to play in the ISL from this season onwards.
He added, "Can't say that there is a hundred percent chance (East Bengal not playing in the ISL next season)."
Tanna's comments arrive after a source close to FSDL had revealed that East Bengal apparently missed the boat to complete their initiation after the month of April as sorting out the legalities could well take around six months.
This would be a major shot in the arm for East Bengal officials who have maintained their resolve to finding a new investor, clearing their path to claim a coveted spot in the ISL.