East Bengal ‘definitely’ attending stakeholder meeting

In a volte-face, East Bengal has now confirmed its participation in the stakeholders meeting at AFC headquarters to discuss Indian football’s roadmap.

The two teams seem to have moved away from the “no Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, no ISL” stance.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Less than a week after threatening to disrupt the Indian Super League (ISL), East Bengal and Mohun Bagan on Wednesday budged from their stance as drama prevailed over the their induction into the lucrative franchise tournament.

In a volte-face, East Bengal has now confirmed its participation in the stakeholders meeting at AFC headquarters to discuss Indian football’s roadmap. Mohun Bagan is expected to follow suit after another round of joint meeting at Netaji Indoor Stadium with state body Indian Football Association and West Bengal sports minister Aroop Biswas.

Maintaining their demand to waive off franchise fee and seeking fund from central pool, the two rival clubs on May 27 had echoed “no Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, no ISL”, and had threatened to boycott the June 7 meeting if AIFF did not respond. But two days after IFA shot off a letter to the AIFF, the two rival clubs have mysteriously started to toe the line.

Blaming the media, East Bengal general secretary Kalyan Majumdar said: “We never said East Bengal would not attend the meeting. We have an invitation and we are definitely going.”

His Mohun Bagan counter part Anjan Mitra, known for his soft-spoken and amiable demeanour, however, chose to be guarded. “We will have a meeting with East Bengal, IFA and sports minister and then will decide,” Mitra said.

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