The event was earlier scheduled to take place on April 14th, marking the Bengali New Year.

I-League winners Mohun Bagan are forced to break Kolkata football rituals amid the coronavirus outbreak. The Mariners have disclosed in an official statement that they won’t hold the traditional ‘Bar Puja’ this year owing to the current situation in the country.

The ‘Bar Puja’ is a matter of emotion in Kolkata Maidan as it mainly takes place on the Bengali New Year, which is scheduled on April 14. Traditionally in the past, the Bar Puja would mark the start of a new footballing season. This is a unique ritual of worshipping both the bar posts and praying for success in the upcoming season for the respective clubs.

The ritual has flowed through generations and it attracts a huge amount of supporters to flock to the grounds making it an auspicious ceremony. However, considering the worldwide spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the supporters will be barred from visiting their respective clubs this season as the country remains in the state of lockdown.

“It is very unfortunate that we need to call off the customary ritual that we follow on Bengali New Year’s day every year. But in the present condition, the safety of our fans, colleagues is our topmost priority and keeping that in mind, we had to take this hard decision. We sincerely hope that the tough time will be over,” said Mohun Bagan club secretary Srinjoy Bose in a statement.

With the Green and Maroons taking this harsh step this year, other clubs in Kolkata Maidan are expected to follow their footsteps, as they will look to put the safety of their fans as their priority while calling off the ritual for this year.

Mohun Bagan have already emerged as champions of the I-League this season with four games to spare. However, the league is left incomplete and the fate of the remaining matches hangs in balance amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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