Coronavirus outbreak: Mamata Banerjee proposes postponement of Kolkata derby

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee proposed the postponement of the Kolkata Derby in a meeting that was attended by East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and AIFF officials.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has asked for the postponement of the Kolkata Derby.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has asked for the postponement of the Kolkata Derby.   -  AP

The last I-League Kolkata derby seems to have run into a roadblock as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday proposed the postponement of the match and has asked the various sporting bodies in the state to refrain from hosting games until March 31.

The meeting was attended by East Bengal's Debabrata Sarkar and Mohun Bagan's Srinjoy Bose, and a senior All India Football Federation (AIFF) official among representatives from other sports.

The decision came a few hours after the AIFF had announced that the remainder of I-League season would be played behind closed doors in a bid to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus. The Indian Super League (ISL) final, scheduled for Saturday, will also be played behind closed doors.

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Debabrata Sarkar said: “The derby has been called off for now. The government of West Bengal has requested to not have any matches until March 31.”

Mohun Bagan general secretary Srinjoy Bose said his club was also willing to play the game at a neutral venue. “It actually doesn't affect us because it is not our home match, it is East Bengal's home game. The AIFF has to now take a call on whether East Bengal should play the game elsewhere. We'll go and play, we are ready to play.”

He continued: “We have only one home game on April fourth against Real Kashmir and if the AIFF allows us, we are even ready to go to Kashmir and play our home match there. Since it is an emergency situation, we also want to co-operate.”    

AIFF senior vice president Subrata Dutta said, “I have spoken to the chief minister that the AIFF president will talk to her on this and then whatever the decision is, that will be carried out.” He added that as it stands, there is not an official diktat on whether the game will go as per schedule or will be postponed and said a decision be made shortly.

When contacted, AIFF president Praful Patel said he was looking into the matter.

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