East Bengal to return to Salt Lake Stadium from February 13

The West Bengal Government – the owner of the stadium – agreed to an appeal from East Bengal club and allowed a huge discount on the rent.

East Bengal will play its last 10 I-League fixtures at the Salt Lake Stadium.   -  K. R. Deepak

The East Bengal fans will have the benefit of watching the remainder of the team’s I-League engagements at the original home venue – the Salt Lake Stadium – from February 13.

This happened after the West Bengal Government – the owner of the stadium – agreed to an appeal from East Bengal club and allowed a huge discount on the rent. East Bengal now needs to pay only Rs. 15 thousand per match instead of the regular rent of Rs. 15 lakh. As the discount is not available to clubs with corporate sponsors, East Bengal could not avail it from the start owning to the presence of its investor, Quess Corp.

With the fans urging the club to initiate steps to get Salt Lake Stadium as the regular venue, the East Bengal officials appealed to the state Sports Minister, Aroop Biswas. As the appeal came from the club and not its investor, which has already announced its decision to dissociate from East Bengal, the Minister agreed to reduce the charges. This will see East Bengal taking on Punjab FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on February 13.

Before that East Bengal needs to appear at the Kalyani Stadium on Friday to take on the challenge of the former champion Aizawl FC. Left struggling at the seventh spot (with 11 points from nine matches) in the current standings after a surprise loss against the AIFF youth side Indian Arrows in the previous outing, East Bengal needs to tidy up its performance to improve its position.

The hosts will be missing striker Marcos de la Espada, who was sent off in the defeat against Arrows. Newly recruited Ansumana Kromah may get a look in as East Bengal tries to regain its rhythm. The Aizawl outfit has its own problems on the performance front as it could manage just one win in the nine matches played so far.

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