The club now won’t be able to register new players unless the ban is lifted.

The ongoing ISL 2022-23 season looks even bleaker for East Bengal fans as it proceeds into its second half. In addition to their inconsistent on-field performance, the Red & Golds are now in trouble off the field. This is because the AIFF has imposed a registration ban on the club. The ban has been effective from January 1, 2023. This implies that even though the club can sign new players including foreigners, it cannot register any new players, resulting in every new signing becoming pointless.

Hence, before planning to turn around their campaign and bid for a top-six finish, the club has to turn around this ban as soon as possible. Only then will the club be eligible to register their new signees and field them in competitive games.

What happened?

Through a press release by the AIFF, dated January 9, 2023, it notified everybody associated with the federation that a registration ban is in effect on East Bengal from January 1, 2023. The ban will be in effect indefinitely until further notice.

The press release is undersigned by the Secretary General of the AIFF, Dr Shaji Prabhakaraan. It said, “This circular is to notify all the Member Associations and the stakeholders of the All India Football Federation that a ban on registration of new players has been imposed on East Bengal FC, a club registered under the Indian Football Association and currently participating in the Hero Indian Super League.”

It continued, “The ban is effective from 1st January 2023 until further notice, as per the communication received from FIFA’s Player Status Department.”

Why impose a registration ban on East Bengal?

As per reports, the root of this move from AIFF goes back to 2020. Prior to the beginning of the 2020-21 ISL season, East Bengal were in advanced talks to rope in Omid Singh, an India-origin Iranian footballer who is currently plying his trade for Naft Masjed Soleyman F.C. in Iran, on a two-year contract. However, the deal (with East Bengal) did not go through.

As per reports, Singh had signed the final contract while East Bengal management backed out of the deal in the eleventh hour. Due to this, as per FIFA guidelines, Singh is entitled to be paid by the club despite not coming to India. However, to date, the club did not pay the footballer his dues.

After around two years, the denial of payment to Singh has come back to haunt East Bengal. Due to the club’s unwillingness to complete the payment mentioned in the contract, the club has faced a registration ban. This means that the club cannot register Jake Jervis until competent authorities revoke the ban.

What’s next?

As per multiple sources, East Bengal is looking to find a way to clear the pending dues of Omid Singh and overturn the registration ban. This is highly essential for the club as they are currently languishing in ninth place on the points table with 12 points from 12 games. The Red & Golds have already parted ways with Brazilian forward Eliandro.

Thus, getting the services of Jake Jervis becomes all the more important for the club. Moreover, they cannot field any new player before the removal of the registration ban, making them unable to register Indian players as well. With a bleak season so far, the fans are already frustrated. Off-field inefficiencies such as this will only further the frustration of fans if things are not sorted out soon.

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