• Wednesday, July 06, 2022

FOOTBALL

Will Manchester United buy East Bengal FC? Here’s the response of Sourav Ganguly

East Bengal FC is one of the oldest football clubs in India

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly

By: Pramod Thomas

INDIAN cricket board chief Sourav Ganguly has said that English Premier League club Manchester United are in talks with Kolkata’s East Bengal for ownership.

Ganguly, who is facilitating the deal, told media that negotiations are on with United and a few others and a clear picture will emerge in two weeks.

“Yes we have spoken to them and others also. It will take 10-12 more days to know who will be the entity,” Ganguly said. “It takes some time. First, let it reach a stage then we will make a comment. I will speak only after there’s a concrete development.”

It was reported that East Bengal were also talking with with Bangladesh-based conglomerate Bashundhara Group but it did not lead to any deal.

Struggling with off-the-field issues, the century-old Kolkata giants have struggled to keep their ties with the investors intact in recent times that have reflected in poor results.

It’s earlier owner, Bengaluru-based Quess Corp exited after a two-year association despite a three-year agreement, jeopardising their Indian Super League (ISL) entry.

When the team failed to rope in any investor, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee came to their rescue with a pact with Shree Cement Ltd as they made last-minute entry into the ISL 2020-21.

The cement conglomerate bought a majority stake of 76 per cent to help them enter ISL and follow their bitter rivals Mohun Bagan who merged with ATK the same season.

But East Bengal’s association did not go off well as their executive committee refused to sign the final agreement, claiming discrepancies in the initial term.

SC East Bengal hired Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler but due to poor planning and lack of preparation they finished a lowly ninth in their maiden ISL season with nine losses, eight draws and just three wins.

Shree Cement had agreed to continue in the last ISL edition. But the team’s performance was worse as they finished bottom of the table with just one win from 20 matches which included 11 losses and eight draws.

Their association ended in April after Shree Cement handed over the sporting rights.

(PTI)

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