Arch-rivals on the field. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have come together to secure their future in the Indian Soccer League. Facing fund crunch, the big two Kolkata clubs want their ISL franchisee fee to be waived. A whopping rupees fifteen crore for each club. Nearly 65-70% of the respective annual revenues of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) and IMG-Reliance the have been in talks to merge I-League with the Indian Super League to make it the top-most league in the country.
On Wednesday the Kolkata soccer giants came on board to play the revamped Indian Super League. But with a rider. The clubs have requested AIFF to wave off their franchisee fee, keeping in mind the heritage contribution to Indian football by two of the oldest football clubs in the country. Bangan, founded in 1889, is 117 years old. East Bengal is just four years from celebrating its centenary.
Mohun Bagan and East Bengal will now meet the AIFF president and secretary in the first week of May and submit a joint memorandum.
“Both the clubs have come together on this issue and are willing to play only in the top most official league of the country. Considering their contribution to Indian football and keeping in mind their heritage the franchisee fee of Rs 15 crore should be waived off,” a senior AIFF official was quoted by Times of India.
“They are of the opinion that they should be allowed to play home matches in Kolkata as they don’t want to deprive members and supporters of their right.”
Waiver of the Rs 15 crore franchisee fee, and permission to play their home games at Kolkata are the two prime pre-conditions, the clubs will put forwarded to the AIFF ahead of the proposed meeting on May 2-3.
The clubs will seek the AIFF support to approach the Football Sports Development Limited – a joint venture between IMG-Reliance and Star India – that had offered licensing agreement, where the licensor (in this case Mohun Bagan and East Bengal) grants the licensee the right to produce and sell goods, apply a brand name or trademark, or use patented technology owned by the licensor, says a Times of India report.
The licensee usually submits to a series of conditions regarding the use of the licensor’s property that includes jersey and logo and agrees to make payments known as royalties. “Now these conditions do not arise. They will field their own team and get their own sponsors. They want to directly compete in the top most official league of the country with the money they can afford to spend,” the senior AIFF official said citing example of low-budget Aizawl FC who are on the verge of winning the maiden I-League. “They will make one memorandum and will give it to the Federation. They will want the AIFF by their side and want IMG-Reliance to accept their proposal keeping their contribution to Indian football mind.”