The Mariners are supposed to play their opening match on August 29 and the Red and Golds are scheduled to play on August 31…
Kolkata giants ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are scheduled to begin their journey in the 2021/22 season of the Calcutta Football League (CFL) on August 29 and August 31 respectively.
East Bengal were initially scheduled to play their opening match on August 24 against Bhowanipore SC but in the revised fixture released by the Indian Football Association (IFA), the governing body for football in Wes Bengal, the Red and Golds are slated to begin their journey on August 31.
Can ATK Mohun play their CFL opener on August 29?
ATK Mohun Bagan recently took part in the group stages of the AFC Cup 2021 in Maldives. The Green and Maroons ended the group stage with two wins and a draw which helped qualify for the Inter-zonal play-offs semifinal of the competition which they will play on September 22 against Uzbekistan’s FC Nasaf. The Mariners’ last group stage game was against Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings on August 24.
Now that the group stages are over the team has decided to take a two-week break before they resume training on September 8 to prepare for their upcoming AFC Cup knockout match. In fact, right after the last group game, the foreign players and the foreign coaching staff have gone back to their countries.
In such a situation, it will be extremely difficult for the club management to field a full-strength team in the next three days in the CFL. The team management are yet to finalise the club’s participation and they have not communicated to the IFA yet regarding their participation in CFL, Goal can confirm.
Can East Bengal play their CFL opener on August 31?
East Bengal’s situation is even more complicated. The club’s long-standing agreement related deadlock with their investor Shree Cement was principally resolved on August 25 after the two parties met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee . The Chief Minister mediated and resolved the issue after which both parties announced that East Bengal will play in the ISL this season and they will keep their differences aside for the time being.
At the moment, the Red and Golds do not have a squad, except for a few players who are on their roster. So it is highly unlikely that the club can sign an entire squad in the next five days and play their opening fixture of the CFL.
Another issue that persists in the Red and Golds’ camp is their transfer ban which was imposed by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on August 6 due to the non-payment of salaries of three former players, Abhash Thapa, Rakshit Dagar and Pintu Mahata. So unless the dues are cleared, the transfer ban will not be lifted and until then East Bengal will not be able to sign or register any player.
As per the term sheet signed between Shree Cement and East Bengal, any liability that was incurred before September 1, 2020, has to be borne by the club. So as the above-mentioned non-payment issue is from the Quess era, Shree Cement will not bear the liability and the new Shree East Bengal Foundation management are yet to receive a communication from the club officials on the clearance of the dues, a source close to Goal has confirmed.
What happens if ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal do not turn up on their respective matchdays?
IFA general secretary Joydeep Mukherjee informed Goal that the governing body is yet to receive any formal request from the clubs regarding fixture revisal and or whether they will not participate.
“IFA have not received any formal communication from either of the clubs regarding change of fixture. So unless they formally write to us, the fixtures will not be revised and if the teams do not turn on their matchdays then walkover will be awarded to the opposition teams,” the IFA secretary told Goal.
A walkover would result in conceding three points to the opponents with a default scoreline of 3-0.