East Bengal, who got back the sporting rights from Shree Cement Limited on Tuesday evening, asserted on Wednesday that they will announce a new investor “within 15 days” and will continue to play in the top flight Indian Super League (ISL).
“We have held preliminary discussions with the (Bangladesh-based) Bashundhara Group. Once they receive the green light from their government, talks between us will move forward. We are in talks with others as well. We are confident of finalising our new investors within the next 15 days or so,” senior East Bengal official Debabrata Sarkar said.
The partnership between East Bengal club and their investors Shree Cement ended on Tuesday over differences over the termsheet. Club officials believe they will be able to take part in the ISL as well. “We’ll definitely play in the ISL. Not only us, Mohammedan Sporting too will play in the ISL in the coming days.
“Other than ISL, we’ll look to play in all tournaments possible. And most importantly we have already started the team-building process because we knew that Shree Cement would hand back the sporting rights to us. We’ll prepare four different teams if the need arises.”
The East Bengal official said he had received a call from the chief minister in February on the issue.
“Chief minister Mamata Banerjee called me on February 17 and said that Shree Cements wanted to hand the sporting rights back to us. So we were mentally prepared for the letter. We have accepted the letter and it has been sent to our lawyers. We are thankful to Shree Cement for their contribution towards the club. Now is the time to look forward,” Sarkar added.
“We have asked our ex-players to come up with suggestions regarding the recruitments. They have sent us a list of players from the I-League. They’ll also scout for talent at Santosh Trophy venues.”
East Bengal has a transfer ban for non-payment of salaries to some of the players. The club is hopeful that Shree Cement would solve the problem.
“They are very reputed people and spent a lot of money for the club. I firmly believe they will clear the dues of the players,” Sarkar said.
According to a source, the total amount of dues is around Rs 2.5 crore. Sarkar also said they would try to play under the aegis of ‘East Bengal Private Limited’. “We’ll try to bring East Bengal back to where it belongs in a couple of years. Once new investors come in, we will sit together and take the final call,” he said.