Mohun Bagan, East Bengal for unified football league in India

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India’s two oldest football clubs – Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, part of the I-League structure – are unanimous that India should have a unified league.

Mohun Bagan finance secretary Debasish Dutta is of the opinion that a unified league emerging from the mix of I-League and the Indian Super League clubs is the future of club football in India.

“We need to have a unified league but that needs to be structured. You cannot ignore club based football but again you need a patron like FSDL to secure the future of Indian football,” national daily The Hindu has reported Dutta as saying.

“The way-forward committee will have representation from the national federation, FSDL and the clubs to effectively find a way to have a league structure that conforms to the FIFA statutes.”

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City rivals East Bengal also back Mohun Bagan opinion. East Bengal assistant secretary Santi Ranjan Dasgupta had agreed with the Mohun Bagan finance secretary.

Former footballer and coach Subhash Bhowmick also opined that a right balance would help nourish the Indian football ecosystem.

“Football is club-based all over the world. The sport would not grow if the club-based system is obliterated. We need a strong league in the country and in order to make it happen every unit involved in developing football, including the state associations, need to have a development plan,” AIFF senior vice-president Subrata Dutta has said.

Meanwhile, former India captain Baichung Bhutia had proposed the two Kolkata giants – Mohun Bagan and East Bengal – should be included in the ISL.

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