Defending and record 29-time champions SC East Bengal, who will kick start their maiden Indian Super League campaign late November, are willing to participate in the 123rd edition of IFA Shield simultaneously.
The Indian Football Association (IFA) is all set to host the prestigious IFA Shield from December and have invited 12 clubs to participate in the competition across four venues in Kolkata.
The club members have written a letter to new investors Shree Cement’s company secretary SS Khandelwal with the plea to create a reserve squad for the tournament while informing of their rich history with the shield.
An EB official explained that while the first team — currently training in Goa for the ISL with coach Robbie Fowler — is only going to play the top-tier competition and AIFF Super Cup, there’s a need for a reserve team that could play in CFL and other prestigious tournaments such as the Shield, CFL, Durand Cup among others.
EB’s executive committee member Debrata Sarkar also acknowledged that a letter has been sent to investors and hoped they will understand why creating a reserve team is important.
“We are willing to participate (in IFA Shield) and our member supporters are also willing. Hopefully, the investors will feel our and members supporters’ situation,” said Sarkar.
It is important to mention that while IFA Shield is an invitational tournament, East Bengal or any other club in Kolkata must field a team in CFL in order to avoid disaffiliation from the state football federation.
Meanwhile, IFA secretary Mukherjee has said they will welcome their defending champions’ decision to field a reserve team for the Shield.