I-League 2018/19: East Bengal face transfer ban as Minerva Punjab gear up to report 'illegal signings'
Minerva Punjab are set to report East Bengal to the All India Football Federation (AIFF), after the Kolkata giants announced four of the Chandigarh-based side's players as their latest signings, earlier this week.
East Bengal, in a public statement, had announced that they had signed a total of six players -- Kassim Aidara, Rakshit Dagar, Sukhdev Singh, Deepak Devrani, Sanchayan Samaddar and Ginkaholen Haokip as their latest signings ahead of the upcoming season. Aout of these, the first four players had pied their trade with the I-League champions.
However, Minerva Punjab owner Ranjit Bajaj completely rubbished these announcements from the Kolkata giants. In fact, he even went on to say that the club will report the matter to All India Football Federation (AIFF).
"Four or five of the names from their squad list are false. They have done this openly, and I am writing to the AIFF about this. What they have done is illegal," Bajaj said to Sportskeeda. "And if AIFF do not take any action, I am going to send them (East Bengal) a legal notice."
According to FIFA rules, a club cannot approach a player from another side without the prior consent from the parent club. The only exception to this rule is if the players in questions have less than six months remaining on their respective contracts.
"There hasn't been any transfer. This is all nonsense from East Bengal. We have contracts with them till 2019," said Bajaj. "So how can East Bengal even approach them (without our approval)?
"My guys are contracted to the club for one and a half years. so I really don't know where this is coming from," he continued. "They are taking this risk because no other club is willing to take them on. But if they do this with me openly, then I am going to bring this up. If they say that they are at least talking to them, that's still ok. But this is no way of doing this."
EastBengal, on their part, denied these claims by Minerva Punjab, saying that the likes of Aidara, Dagar, Sukhdev and Devrani are yet to receive the transfer certificates from the I-League champions.
"It is the responsibility of the player to acquire the transfer certificate from their club," said East Bengal official Debabrata Sarkar said, when contacted by Sportskeeda. "If they can't produce the transfer certificate, then they won't play for us. It's as simple as that."
With both the clubs looking unwilling to budge an inch from their stance, it now remains to be seen what steps the AIFF will take. Meanwhile, the four players in questions seem to be left in limbo, as there is no clarification, as of yet, with regards to where they will play next season.