East Bengal is set to play in the upcoming eighth season of the Indian Super League, which is set to begin in late November, after club officials and sponsors Shree Cement Limited announced a truce on Wednesday, ending a long-running drama over their partnership in the presence of chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
Mamata Banerjee played a crucial role in breaking the impasse by meeting the two parties at the secretariat and making the statement after a lengthy meeting. With the signing of the deal, Shree Cement can now begin the process of forming a team and paving the way for East Bengal to compete in the ISL season eight.
After the investor told her two days ago of its reluctance to proceed with the deal with EB due to the club’s failure to convert a previously signed term sheet into a legally binding definitive agreement, she summoned the squabbling parties to the bargaining table. The club claimed it was a one-sided contract with some elements that went against the club’s century-old traditions.
Since the team’s ISL campaign concluded on February 27, the impasse had forced all football-related activity to a halt.
The talks on Wednesday appear to have put an end to the uncertainty. CM Banerjee stated at Nabanna that East Bengal was allowed to play in the ISL last year thanks to Shree Cement. These things appeared to be questionable, which made her a little upset as well.
With less than a week until the transfer window closes on August 31, the management will have a difficult time putting together a team now that a truce has been reached. While archrivals ATK Mohun Bagan has already begun their season by securing a spot in the AFC Cup inter-zonal playoff semifinal, other ISL clubs have strengthened their rosters with fresh signings.
Many at the club, though, worry that this will be a tense ceasefire between the club and the investor, if not a permanent one. The contract featured a two-year lock-in clause, according to sources, but it was unclear whether the Hari Mohan Bangur led investor would commit to a long-term collaboration.