June 23, 2021

Indian Football: Bhaichung Bhutia – East Bengal are getting a poor reputation in the corporate world

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The former Indian skipper mentioned that the parting of ways between Quess and East Bengal was not in the best interest of any party involved…

Kolkata giants East Bengal have been in the news lately with regards to their bid to participate in the Indian Super League (ISL). However, the ISL as of now, have no plans of adding more teams.

But former East Bengal star Bhaichung Bhutia is confident that the historic club will play in the ISL someday but claimed that there is still a lot of work to be done before taking the leap.

Quess Corp Limited, who had majority stakes in the club until recently parted ways with East Bengal after a protracted saga that involved the transfer of sporting rights back to the club. The Red and Golds are still searching for an investor in the midst of a pandemic.

The former skipper urged the club to learn from its past mistakes and work in such a way that they are unaffected by the ever-changing situations in the footballing world.

“I think you have to learn from the mistakes Quess and East Bengal’s joint venture ended up making. It was not a happy ending and it was not a good development for either Quess or East Bengal. We have to make sure that this does not happen in the future. The club gets a very bad reputation in the corporate world and that isn’t good,” he said during a webinar on East Bengal’s centenary with SportStar.

“Changes happen both on and off the field and East Bengal need to get used to it. When I played there, the situation was different and now times are different.”

Bhaichung believes East Bengal inclusion in the ISL is a win-win for both parties. However, he opined that the club must ensure that they will be in a position to sustain themselves financially. With the promotion-relegation model replacing the existing structure in a few years, he believes that the Red and Golds must think long-term.

“It is very important for ISL to have East Bengal in the top tier. It is important for East Bengal as well. East Bengal is one of the biggest clubs in India. The problem is if an investor asks for majority stakes in the club, will the officials be ready to concede that?

“As a player and fan of East Bengal, I want the club to play in ISL. But will they be allowed to play in ISL this year? It is difficult.

“East Bengal will definitely pay in ISL either this year or next but the club must get organised in order to sustain themselves in the top league.

“If you are not organised and cannot sustain there, then entire idea of playing the ISL makes no sense,” he said.