Indian Super League

SC East Bengal to Play in ISL After Mamata Banerjee Negotiates Truce Between Club and Investors

Arjun Singh Devgan

Indian footballing giants, SC East Bengal will play in the upcoming edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) after West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee intervened to broker peace between the club management and their investors, Shree Cement Limited.

Banerjee had called for a meeting on Wednesday after SLC had sent a letter to her on Monday explaining their decision to end their five-year deal with the club after the East Bengal management did not budge in signing the final agreement.

"Khela hobe (the game is on). I'm very happy today. All is well that ends well. They had some uncertainties till now whether they would be able to play in ISL but now East Bengal's problem is solved. Shree Cement has accepted my request (to extend the deal) with East Bengal and have accepted all my proposals," Banerjee had announced at the state secretariat Nabanna.

The deadlock between the investors and the club management which lasted for eight months, led to fan protests throughout the state, but Banerjee managed to negotiate a truce - a year after she had roped in the Rajasthan-based investors to acquire a 76 percent stake that had paved the century-old club's last minute entry to ISL last season.

"East Bengal played the ISL last year owing to Shree Cement. This time things were a bit uncertain because of which I too became a bit hostile (on Monday). Where will the crores of East Bengal fans go, I thought, if they aren't able to play? East Bengal have a brand value in world football. I had requested them (SCL) and they agreed.

"I think EB fans are happy today. Even MB (Mohun Bagan) will be happy because they want their opponents to play. I had received many calls, voicing their concern about East Bengal's fate in ISL. So, everyone would be happy today," she concluded.