ISL 2017: Bengaluru FC manager Albert Roca regrets absence of East Bengal, Mohun Bagan
What’s the story?
Bengaluru FC manager Albert Roca, speaking to media during an ISL 2017 conference on Mumbai on Friday, said that he is optimistic about the fact that Indian football giants, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan will join the glitzy event very soon.
In case you didn’t know
Bengaluru FC made a switch from I-League to ISL this year, but East Bengal and Mohun Bagan didn’t follow the same route. Both the Kolkata clubs were unwilling to pay the franchisee fees, which is mandatory to take part in ISL. This was just one of the many reasons why the prestigious clubs of the nation decided to stay put in I-League.
Heart of the matter
Roca’s side Bengaluru FC became one of the two new teams to be added to the ISL roaster, the other being newly formed Jamshedpur FC. BFC have had epic encounters against both the Kolkata giants, and it’s not too difficult to realise why he wants these teams in ISL.
“It's a shame that East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are not part of the ISL. They have been an important part of Indian football history. I am sure it is only a question of time before they join the league. We at BFC look forward to playing with them,” Roca said.
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary Dato’ Windsor made it clear that the simultaneous running of the ISL and I-League this season was just a stop-gap arrangement and the two will have to be merged together. So the All India Football Association (AIFF) has to work in tandem with the Kolkata clubs, so that they can be accommodated in ISL.
East Bengal and Mohun Bagan’s legacy can’t be questioned, and like Roca said, these two outfits have played an instrumental part in Indian football. Also, their huge fan base can’t be ignored. But a common ground has to be reached, whereby both AIFF and the concerned clubs come on the same page and ensure that India’s top league isn’t played without them.