Something like this has never happened before in the 100 years of the club’s existence.
Shocking scenes unfolded outside East Bengal’s club tent on Wednesday as fans conducted a heated protest. It was all because of the decision of not signing the final agreement sheet with investors Shree Cement, taken by the club’s executive committee last week.
Thousands of fans gathered outside the ground at Maidan, Kolkata to voice their opinions. The majority of them made it clear about their displeasure of the management’s acts. Many openly chanted their desires for wanting club official Debabrata ‘Nitu’ Sarkar to resign.
Some even defended the officials’ decision and criticized Shree Cement’s rules and attempts to change the club’s values. After a point of time, the protest turned violent. Clashes happened between fans and the police had to get involved. Several arrests were made, some fans were allegedly injured in the clashes as well. The heated protest caught the attention of the entire Indian football fraternity, with the majority voicing their solidarity with the fans.
All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das insisted that it was an unfortunate incident for fans being hurt during the protest. But, he insisted that the AIFF cannot interfere in the matter as it is an internal one for the club.
The Delhi Football Association President Shaji Prabhakaran made his support clear for the fans. He also urged Indian football fans to stand in solidarity with the East Bengal supporters.
Former Minerva Punjab FC owner Ranjit Bajaj was also saddened by reports of violence towards the fans. He hit out at Nitu Sarkar, asking him to ‘stop being so shameless and get out’ and insisted that he remains by the fans’ side.
Sports expert Joy Bhattacharya also spoke about the current situation at East Bengal. He labelled the current events as a ‘travesty of justice nad a tragedy’ for millions of the club’s fans over the world.
Indian Football clubs
Kerala Blasters also made a unique statement regarding the protest. They insisted that ‘football is nothing without the fans’ and that the voice of supporters must be heard.
Indian Super League (ISL) side Mumbai City FC’s fan club West Coast Brigade also condemned the violence of the police. They also lent their support to the Red & Gold Brigaders fans, urging them to stay strong.
Kerala Blasters’ Manjappada fan group also made a tweet with various pictures of the protest. They insisted that this was no way to handle things and no fans deserved the treatment received in the protest.
Bengaluru FC’s fan group West Block Blues also condemned the violence against the fans on Wednesday. They insisted that fans demanding better management ‘should be heard, not hurt’ and voiced their hope for better days at the Kolkata club.
NorthEast United FC’s fan club Highlander Brigade also condemned the brutality towards the fans during the protest. They gave their word about standing in solidarity with the fans at the time.
FC Goa’s Gaur Army fan club insisted that East Bengal’s officials must realize the power of the people. They also made it clear that the club is nothing without fans in a strong message in support of the supporters.
Chennaiyin FC’s fan group Supermachans made it clear that the fans are not criminals for holding a protest. They condemned the police’s violence and stand together with the East Bengal supporters.
The fan group of former ISL side Delhi Dynamos also came up with a poignant message. They insisted about knowing what the East Bengal fans are going through right now, having seen their club perish away years ago, and that the officials should be ashamed for acting this way.
I-League clubs and fan groups
I-League side Chennai City FC’s Roaring Lions fan club also made a powerful statement in lending their support. They urged the East Bengal fans to ‘fight deep’ in the quest to ensure a bright future for their club.