In a press conference, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee announced the move.
East Bengal have boosted their chances of a dramatic entry into the Indian Super League (ISL) next season after announcing a partnership with leading national cement providers Shree Cement. The new investors will fund their entry into the elite league and the Red and Gold have received full backing from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to play in the cash-rich league.
Senior East Bengal official Debabrata Sarkar spoke about the obstacles the club had to overcome to seal this partnership and assured that the club will now sit down with the league to find a way for their entry next term. He said, “We want to thank Tarun (Jhunjhunwala) ji, Biswa Majumder, Aroop Biswas for the way they were beside us as we fought to get this deal over the line. In the current situation in which East Bengal are in, we will make an appeal to play in the ISL.”
“We will try to respect their system and find a way for our entry. Yesterday, we sat with the necessary bodies for it, but a few problems couldn’t allow us to agree a deal. Now, ‘Didi’ (Mamata Banerjee) has helped us fix these problems and we’ll move forward to ensure our place in the ISL.”
The Red and Gold Brigaders’ General Secretary Kalyan Majumder also relayed his thanks to Banerjee for ensuring the deal goes through. “I want to thank the respected Chief Minister for her hard work to help the club get ready to play in the Indian Super League. We would want her to have a healthy life and we would want her to keep guiding us, so that we can continue to be successful in the future.”
Shree Cement representative Shamik Shett, also spoke on the deal and said, “We haven’t done this kind of investment anytime in the past. We’ve been helped by the Chief Minister and our company will give our best to ensure that the club will reach the top of Indian football and can become champions. We’ll try to ensure that the club can play in the ISL for the first time and make history.”
CM Banerjee also gave her blessings to the historic deal, voicing her hopes that Kolkata clubs can remain at the top of Indian football for years to come. She also revealed that she’s spoken with the AIFF about helping the Red and Gold earn a place in the ISL. “This is a historic step for East Bengal and we hope that the club can now take a step forward to playing in the ISL. It’s not easy at all to get an investor at this time of pandemic and the partnership can be a successful one.”
“We hope that the Kolkata clubs can become champions. That can only happen if everyone works together with positive planning. I hope the club can now settle their remaining work to play in the ISL next season. I’ve spoken to Praful (Patel) of the All India Football Federation and have made my own plea to allow them to play in the ISL.”
Tarun Jhunjhunwala, Chief Executive for Reliance Jio Infocomm also helped get the deal over the line and will work as a senior advisor to both parties. “We will give our best try to settle the formalities and ensure that we can play in the ISL this year itself. I think that knowing where East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have headed, this will be a new beginning for Kolkata clubs.”
Along with this, it was also revealed that all three Kolkata clubs would get their own ‘gates’ inside the city for their contribution to the sports heritage of Kolkata. East Bengal could also become the first Indian club to have a club museum, but only after the coronavirus pandemic eases.
The West Bengal Chief Minister said, “Kolkata is the gateway of Indian football. So East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting will get their own gates after the pandemic situation. We will also work on a football museum for East Bengal when things get steady again.”