BFC, EB involved in verbal tug of war over practice session

The situation arose prior to East Bengal’s training session on Saturday morning at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium when its players arrived at the pitch ahead of its scheduled time of 10 a.m.

East Bengal practising at Sree Kanteerava Stadium on the eve of its I-League football tournament match against Bengaluru Football Club, in Bengaluru on Saturday.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

There is no doubt that Bengaluru FC’s clash against East Bengal is a much-awaited one but fireworks seemed to have erupted a full-day in advance with a verbal duel between the two sets of club officials.

The situation arose prior to East Bengal’s training session on Saturday morning at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium when its players arrived at the pitch ahead of its scheduled time of 10 a.m. Its Team Manager Alvito D’Cunha’s contention was that the club had obtained prior permission for the same and yet his team wasn’t allowed in. He also alleged ‘abusive behaviour’ directed at him and his fellow officials.

“You think I will go that early without reason?” asked D’Cunha. “Why would I do it? I had a word with Mr. Barua. [Premankur Barua, Team Manager, BFC]. He said there would be no problem in advancing it. They also said the bus would be ready by 8.30 but nothing came. So we walked.”

“Whatever happened was very bad,” he added. “You need to treat guests with respect. The words that were used were very bad. This sort of thing has never happened in my life.”

However, Bengaluru’s Chief Technical Officer Mandar Tamhane said that Barua was the not the right person to be approached.

“Barua is not the qualified person,” he said. “The guys to be contacted are the LGC [Local General Coordinators] and the LMO [Local Media Officer]. We sent an email two days ago with the timings. If they had problems, they should have replied to that mail.”

“Also is there any communication to prove [that he called Barua]? It doesn’t work like that. All clubs have trained here from 10 to 11. When the Match Commissioner Michael Andrews came at 10, even he agreed with us and said whatever happened to prior to 10 wasn’t his business.

“On Friday their training was from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. They called up and said they would be late. So we asked them from 4 to 5. But they finally came at quarter to 5. We still obliged.”

Tamhane also said that the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has been apprised of the situation and also about the alleged ‘abusive behaviour’ from East Bengal. On his part, D’Cunha said that his club was yet to take a decision over approaching the AIFF.

“Match is more important,” he said. “The issue has been reported to the Match Commissioner. Even he was very upset.”