Bagan creates impasse over Kolkata Derby

Mohun Bagan caused another row on Tuesday saying that the governing body of the sport in the state — Indian Football Association (IFA) — created "uncertainties in organising the Derby" against East Bengal.

Mohun Bagan East Bengal Calcutta League

Two Indian football's oldest clubs, Mohun Bagan and city rival East Bengal, might not play each as per scheduled in the Calcutta League.   -  PTI

The season’s first meeting between the city giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan is unlikely to happen as scheduled on Wednesday as the latter expressed its inability to field its side in the premier division (group A) match of the Calcutta Football League.

Mohun Bagan, which had been in the eye of controversies this season, created another row on Tuesday saying that the governing body of the sport in the state — Indian Football Association (IFA) — created “uncertainties in organising the Derby”.

Mohun Bagan shot a letter signed by its secretary Anjan Mitra to IFA on the eve of the match saying that its team could not reach the venue — Kalyani Stadium — as it received “verbal assurance” from the latter about the match being postponed to a further date. Mohun Bagan said that there was lot of confusion regarding the possibility of the match happening on the specified date and hence did not send the team to the venue.

Mohun Bagan said it will require 48 hours, which was later reset to 24 hours, for its team to get prepared and travel to the venue, which is around 50 kilometres from here. Mohun Bagan had a few days ago courted controversy after its fans invaded the ground sparking the abandonment of its home match against Tollygunge Agragami. The IFA agreed to Bagan’s pleas and decided to replay the abandoned match at a date after September 14.

After Mohun Bagan started issuing conditions about playing the local Derby, IFA put its foot down saying the match will be played as per schedule. The IFA secretary Utpal Ganguly made the state body’s stand clear saying that there is no scope for any postponement saying that Mohun Bagan’s demands are untenable. In such a situation the match is likely to fall through with one team present and the other staying away.

Hoping that Mohun Bagan will change its decision, Mr. Ganguly said that the CFL sub-committee will be taking a decision on the fate of the match once it falls through. The other team, East Bengal, reached the venue on time and had the usual practice session on Tuesday. A senior East Bengal official said that his team has followed the fixture and will not play if the match is postponed.