The Indian football legend has given his support to East Bengal fans…
Legendary Indian footballer and former national team captain Bhaichung Bhutia has shown solidarity with East Bengal fans and hoped that the current impasse between the club and their investor Shree Cement would soon be over.
On Saturday, Bhutia took to social media to offer his support to the East Bengal fans as he wrote: “I stand with the East Bengal fans. It’s sad to see what is happening to the East Bengal club. The club belongs to the fans and their legacy. I hope things will be resolved soon and the club will go back to days glory.”
Why did East Bengal fans protest and what happened at the rally
A section of East Bengal fans gathered near the club’s headquarters last Wednesday, carrying banners and chanting slogans against club officials in a peaceful manner. They called on the officials to sign the final agreement with the investor.
But the peaceful protest suddenly turned violent and the police were accused of dispersing the demonstrators to maintain law and order. Two fans were injured and three or four fans were arrested, according to a police statement.
Another section of fans supporting club officials was also present at the venue and urged them not to respond to investors’ demands.
Club officials condemned the fans’ gesture and noted that it brought the club a bad reputation. They further stated that the final agreement can only be signed after the club and the investor meet each other to discuss the contentious terms, which officials feel are different from those contained in the terms sheet signed in September 2020.
What did the police say about the mass protest, which turned violent?
Describing the incident, a senior police officer said, “We waited patiently while two groups of fans protested. But after some time things got out of hand when the crowd turned into a mob, so we had to charge them and disperse them. No charges came. Three or four people were arrested. Actions will be taken against them.”
What is happening in East Bengal?
After Quess Corp separated from East Bengal in June 2020 after being the club’s investor for two seasons, Shree Cement joined the platform as its new investor facilitating the club’s move to the Indian Premier League (ISL).
They then proceeded to create a joint venture called Shree Cement East Bengal Foundation, in which the cement giants owned 76 percent of the stakes while the club owned 24.
Following the arrival of Shree Cement, a condition paper was signed by both parties in September 2020 in the presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who played an important role in bringing the company to the board as the club’s new investor.
Pursuant to the terms sheet, the club’s sporting rights as well as all of its assets and property (including ownership) have been transferred to the newly formed joint venture between the two parties.
Despite the signing of the terms sheet, a final binding agreement for the deal has yet to be signed by officials despite multiple reminders.
Club officials have remained firm about the claim that some points in the final agreement differ from the terms sheet that the two parties signed. On the other hand, the new administration claims otherwise.
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