Peerless wins Calcutta Football League title as East Bengal presents a 'no-show'

Peerless SC secured the maiden CFL title and became the first team outside the city’s big-three to win the title after a gap of 60 years.

Peerless SC players celebrate their 2-0 win over George Telegraph in the Calcutta Football League (CFL) on Sunday.   -  Special Arrangement

Peerless SC was crowned the new Calcutta Football League champion while confirming its top position in the elite tier - premier division ‘A’ – of the country’s oldest (121-year-old) League after East Bengal stayed away from its final outing at the Kalyani Stadium on Thursday, thus giving its opponent Calcutta Customs Club a “walk-over”.

The official announcement on the fate of the match will happen only on or after October 14 when the governing body of the sport in the state and the League organiser – Indian Football Association (IFA) - reopens after the festival break.

This incident paved the way for Peerless (23 points from 11 matches) to secure its maiden CFL elite tier crown and become the first team outside the city’s big-three – East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting – to win the title after in 60 years.

Peerless, which finished second in the table to the eventual champion Mohun Bagan last year, saw its dream coming true this time as it beat both the city giants (Mohun Bagan and East Bengal) on its way to finishing on top of the final standings.

READ | Calcutta Football League title decider, as it happened

Needing to win by a margin of a minimum seven goals in its concluding match against Calcutta Customs, East Bengal did not turn up for the match while issuing an appeal to the IFA to postpone the match to a date on or after October 21.

Quess, the investor which has the controlling rights of the senior East Bengal team, issued a statement barely an hour before the match saying that its head coach (Alejandro Menendez) is on leave.

The IFA did not buy the East Bengal logic and stuck to its original decision of having the match replayed on Thursday and made all arrangements to have it on the scheduled time. The game was initially scheduled for September 29, but was abandoned owing to water-logging at East Bengal’s home ground.

ALSO READ | East Bengal appeals for postponement, IFA says match is on

Calcutta Customs Club fielded its full side at the notified time while East Bengal failed to turn up at the venue. The match officials called off the after waiting for more than 30 minutes completing the modalities of the “walk-over”.

This effectively means that East Bengal completed its League assignments and finished with 20 points from 11 matches. The IFA’s CFL sub-committee will now discuss the report given by the referee and match commissioner on the match and decide on the next step on resumption after the festival break.

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