East Bengal and Mohun Bagan reportedly reject offer from IMG-R
The merger of the I-League and ISL has had another setback.
What’s the story?
According to leading Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika, proposals have been sent to both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan to join the next edition of the Indian Super League, however, it appears to have been rejected by both the clubs.
Plenty of sanctions have been included in the roles, including the ability of the sponsors to rename the official team name and alter their logos as well as take most of the profits garnered.
Officials from both the clubs said, “There is no question of abiding by these rules. They must play by our rules. Otherwise, there will be no merged league.”
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Realising the fact that the participation of the three giants of Indian football, namely East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC, is vital to sustain the future of the ISL, the officials at IMG Reliance have been eager to merge it with the I-League.
As such, they have made changes to the existing rules in an attempt to lure the biggies with the money and fame of the ISL.
The heart of the matter
Apparently, the new laws have made it clear that there may be changes in the home kits and the logos of the Kolkata giants. The Red and Gold colours and the burning torch are identities that the East Bengal fans dearly associate to, while the Maroon colours and the floating boat are signatures that is held close to their heart by the Mohun Bagan supporters.
Any attempts to change these will result in a boycott by both the clubs. Moreover, it seems that even if they follow the aforementioned rules, these clubs will receive only 10% of the total profits. All these have made the proposals completely untenable.
After discussing it with their respective board members, officials from both the Bengal clubs will sit and discuss with Indian Football Association secretary Utpal Dutta and decide their next course of action.
In all probability, the clubs will now present their own set of conditions that has to be followed by the ISL management and will be radically different to the one proposed.
A new phase has just unfolded in this battle, and it will be interesting to see who emerges victorious in this latest setback. While it is unquestionable that a “merger”, or a restructuring at least is mandatory to take Indian football forward, one cannot expect the I-League clubs to simply sacrifice their rich history and independence at the altar of more glitz and glamour.
A middle way must be found at any cost. Keep watching this space for more.