Kolkata derby likely in March next year as IFA plans upcoming season

ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal might face each other in the Kolkata derby next season following Bagan's merger with ISL side.

Mohun Bagan's merger with ISL side ATK is believed to be the end of the iconic Kolkata derby rivalry with East Bengal.   -  K. R. Deepak

ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal may cross swords the only time in the upcoming season in March next year when the West Bengal football association (IFA) is planning to stage the Calcutta Football League Premier Division.

Mohun Bagan’s merger with ATK meant that the Indian Super League is likely to miss out on the fever-pitched Kolkata derby, as its arch-rival East Bengal is almost certain to remain in the second-rung I-League for the upcoming season.

“We will hold a meeting with the Premier Division clubs tentatively on Wednesday to chalk out the details. We are looking at the window from February last week to March,” IFA general secretary Joydeep Mukherjee told PTI on the sidelines of Football Lovers’ Day.

Kolkata football tragedy: Fans donate blood to mark 40th anniversary  

This day is considered as one of the most tragic days in Indian football history as 16 fans died in a crowd violence during the Kolkata derby match of the CFL in 1980.

In memory of the incident, IFA observes August 16 as Football Lovers’ Day with blood donation camps across the state.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, IFA still managed to carry out the mammoth exercise across the districts with a total donor of 896.

“Looking at the situation, it’s really commendable that so many people turned up on this day. We took all the sanitisation measures and it was conducted maintaining proper social distancing,” Mukherjee said.

Netaji Indoor Stadium hosted the camp here with 228 donors.

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