Mohun Bagan refuse to play the game on the proposed date…

The fate of the Calcutta Football League’s Kolkata Derby hangs in the balance after Mohun Bagan refused to play the game tomorrow as originally scheduled. The Mariners are awaiting the resolution of the controversy that followed the abandoned game against Tollygunge Agragami and also want to be returned to their original schedule of fixtures.

On Monday morning officials from the Indian Football Association (IFA) and the state’s Public Works Department inspected the Kalyani Stadium for security concerns. It is understood the officials were not satisfied with the structure of the temporary gallery and refused to grant a ‘No Objection Certificate for the game to go ahead.

In the evening, Mohun Bagan officials addressed a press conference in the club tent where Finance Secretary Debashis Dutta and Assistant Club Secretary Srinjoy Basu answered questions from the media. Dutta said, ” The IFA had initially promised 4,000 tickets to both clubs. But, after the state PWD did not give the NOC to a temporary stand constructed at the stadium the total number of tickets has been reduced to 7500 and each club can be given a maximum of 2000 each which will be a huge loss.”

Kalyani Stadium with temporary stands getting ready for Derby .

Regarding the training schedule he added, “Our players are not accustomed to the Kalyani turf so they need at least 48 hours of training on it before getting down on the matchday. This is not our decision. We have come to this decision following discussions with our coach and technical committee members.”

With just one day remaining before the tie 48 hours of practice is not possible, but Bagan say it won’t be possible for them to participate if their ticket demands are not met.

Earlier Mohun Bagan had sent a letter to the IFA which had clearly stated, “Our club will be under tremendous pressure if we are unable to keep our word as promised regarding the issuance of tickets to the bonafide members. We request you to kindly solve our problems and help us to play the match or else it will be impossible to participate in the upcoming derby match”.

This was in reply to the governing body’s letter asserting that it was on the Mariners’ insistence that the match was pencilled in at the Kalyani Stadium in the first place. “As you are well aware we wanted the match to be played in Kanchengunga Stadium, but considering your objection to playing the match there we settled on an alternate venue,” the letter continued.

“We also considered organising this match on your ground in the Maidan but even after East Bengal accepted the proposal to play the match in the said venue, the police authorities did not approve it because of security reasons.”

“In such circumstances, as an alternative and after discussions with both clubs we decided to organise the match at the Kalyani Stadium,” it added.

Meanwhile, East Bengal official Debabrata Sarkar stuck to his old stand of not participating in the derby if it was rescheduled. He said, “We will not play after the 7th. We will play as per the proposed schedule and not give priority to anybody’s personal interest.”

On the other hand, IFA Secretary Utpal Ganguly said, “Mohun Bagan made a false allegation against me. I will speak on this tomorrow addressing the press. For now, the derby is on and will be held on 7 September.”