Mohun Bagan refuse to play derby, East Bengal set to get walkover

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Kolkata, Sep 6 (IANS) East Bengal stands to get a walkover with city soccer giants Mohun Bagan on Tuesday refusing to play the season’s first Kolkata derby on Wednesday by sticking to its demand for at least 48 hours of time to prepare for the marquee tie of the Calcutta Football League (CFL).

Bagan’s arch-rivals East Bengal, on the other hand, made it clear that they would not accept any postponement of the game and asked the Indian Football Association (IFA) – the state’s soccer governing body – to give them walkover and three points as per rules if Mohun Bagan did not turn up for the match slated to be played at the Kalyani Stadium.

In case of a walkover, East Bengal would be adjudged champions of the league for the seventh time on the trot

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IFA Secretary Utpal GangulI said the CFL tournament committee would give tis verdict on Wednesday if Mohun Bagan did not turn up on the ground.

“We will reach the ground at the right time, and wait for 90 minutes. Now, if Mohun Bagan did not make an appearance, we should get a walk-over and three points,” said an East Bengal official.

Mohun Bagan is peeved with the IFA for not meeting its two demands – at least two days of practice at the venue before the match and a total of over 6,000 tickets for their members.

In a letter to IFA on Tuesday, Mohun Bagan accused the apex body of “overlooking” the safety and security of thousands of football lovers.

IFA had initially promised 4,000 tickets to both clubs. But after the state Public Works Department did not give the no objection certificate to a temporary stand constructed at the stadium, the total number of tickets have come down to 7,500, and each club can be given a maximum of 2,000 each.

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In the missive to Ganguli, Mohun Bagan general secretary Anjan Mitra alleged that the IFA had not consulted either of the participating clubs before “arbitrarily reducing the quanity of tickets, which has made it impossible to meet the demand of our members”.

Mitra said his team had even cancelled the hotel booking in Kalyani after receiving “verbal assurance” from him that the tie would be postponed.

“The entire management for organising this Derby was in such a situation that the conduct of the match was in uncertainty,” he said.

“As the governing body of football in the state, you should accept our logic of providing 48 hours for preparation as it is very essential for the team to understand the surface and size of the field and get themselves accustomed with the condition,” Mitra said.

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“We once again reiterate that at least 48 hours of time has to be provided to our team for preparation of the match at Kalyani and accordingly Adefer the date of the match as it will not be possible to play the match tomorrow (Wednesday),” he said.




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