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The former Red and Gold players claimed the agreement takes away all rights of the officials.

Former East Bengal captain Sukumar Samajpati and player Chandan Banerjee spoke in support of the club officials after reading the final binding agreement sent by investors Shree Cement. Club officials invited the former players to read the agreement and take stock of the club’s decision to not sign it. Samajpati and Banerjee, both club legends, in their statements asserted that they found discrepancies in certain clauses in the final agreement.

“We have read and examined the term sheet and the final agreement and found disparity in both,” they said in a joint statement. East Bengal club officials refused to sign the final agreement, alleging that it is an ‘insult’ to the institution. It threatens to curtail the fundamental rights of the club officials. The agreement is supposedly just a final binding of the term sheet signed by both parties last September.

But, club officials have alleged that certain clauses in the final agreement do not match with the initial term sheet. The agreement will permanently hand over the club to the investors, the officials alleged. “We will lose rights over the ground, club logo and tent,” the officials said in a release last week.

Samajpati and Banerjee echoed similar lines in their statement. “Certain terms and clauses in the form of the first term sheet are changed,” they said. Both also agreed that by signing the document the officials would most likely “hand over complete authority to the investors.”

Fans protest against club’s refusal to sign agreement

While they supported the club officials, a large section of Red and Gold fans have protested against the club’s refusal to sign the agreement. On 21 July, thousands marched in protest against the East Bengal club officials and demanded their resignation. Many also called for them to sign the document and leave the club.

The officials have, however, found support in another section of fans, who back their decision. This group of supporters also led a demonstration outside the club tent on Wednesday. Things soon turned hostile between the two groups, leading to local police using force and lathi-charge to disperse the crowd.

Many have called for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to intervene and resolve the deadlock to pave the way for East Bengal’s participation in the Indian Super League next season.

Former players Samajpati and Banerjee called for members to support the club in this time of crisis. In their statement, the duo asked all former players to attend a joint meeting at the club tent on July 26 at 3 pm and help the club take a decisive call on the matter.

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