East Bengal, Mohun Bagan to seek AIFF help

East Bengal Mohun BaganKolkata: City soccer giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan will seek the All India Football Federation's help in their bid to play in the top league of the country on their own and without any help from Football Sports Development Ltd (FSDL) -- organisers of the ISL -- it was decided here in a meeting on Wednesday.

Representatives of both clubs will meet AIFF President Praful Patel in the first week of May to present their case, which includes waiving of the franchise fee which the organisers of the Indian Super League have asked them to pay.

The clubs also are now opposed to seeking any sponsorship help from FSDL, turning against a deal which was agreed upon earlier.

AIFF Senior Vice President Subrata Dutta -- also the President of Bengal's apex soccer body Indian Football Association -- will accompany both clubs to the AIFF headquarters in New Delhi to mediate a dialogue.

A proposed 10-team top-tier league is in the pipeline with the AIFF and their commercial and marketing partners FSDL planning to refurbish Indian football after the U-17 World Cup.

On Wednesday, East Bengal,represented by Amit Sen, Kalyan Mazumdar and Debabrata Sarkar, and Mohun Bagan, represented by Srinjoy Bose, Anjan Mitra and Debasish Dutta, met IFA officials to chart the next course of action after FSDL had offered them a licensing agreement where the sponsor will have rights to produce logo, jersey colours and make alteration in the name by applying its brand.

"They want to be a part of the country's official top league. On May 2nd or 3rd they will meet the AIFF president and present their case where they would say, they be allowed to play the league on the basis of their contribution to Indian football and legacy," a source in the know told IANS.

"They also want to play out of Kolkata and not any other town in Bengal as they feel they have a huge supporter base here and if they are based out of somewhere else, it would mean depriving their fans here," the source added.

Both clubs believe after one season of playing in the revamped top division, they would start attracting sponsors, it was learnt.