The good news is raining for Kolkata football giants East Bengal. After having received the much-need financial boost with the major investment from the Bangur Group, East Bengal is also seeing the Indian Super League doors opening for it.
Entry though will only be through a competitive bid process.
Football Sports Development Limited, organisers of the Indian Super League, has invited bids for a new team for the upcoming season. This comes as a golden opportunity for East Bengal to realise its ISL dreams.
The process to induct the new team will be completed within two months before the ISL season is scheduled to start from November.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India president Sourav Ganguly and West Bengal Chief Minister have been instrumental in helping East Bengal overcome financial trouble and moving closer to realising the goal of securing an ISL berth.
“FSDL invites bids from interested parties for the award of one (01) additional team to enroll and participate in the Hero Indian Super League, from its seventh edition to be staged in 2020-2021,” the tender notice issued by the organisers said.
“Bids are invited in respect of 06 cities – Delhi, Ludhiana, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Siliguri and Bhopal. Under and subject to the Invitation to Bid (ITB), one (01) new winning bidder and accordingly one new team shall be enrolled and awarded the right to participate in the ISL from the seventh edition onwards,” the FSDL said.
East Bengal and investor Shree Cement officials have reportedly told PTI that the club will be participating in the bid process.
“As of now, we are successful in achieving the criteria needed to play ISL. Now we will apply and it’s up to the tournament committee to decide which team will be included,” East Bengal assistant secretary Shanti Ranjan Dasgupta said.
“It’s the start of a new era. Professionalism is the need of the hour to survive. The amateur structure won’t work. It’s a new beginning for us after completing 100 years.”
Shree Cement owner Hari Mohan Bangur said: “We hope to participate but we don’t know, after all, it’s a tender process. We can say right now is that one more team will play. We will fill in the tender and then see.”
The electronic copies of the ITB and other documents shall be made available to the interested parties up to 5 pm IST on September 7 and September 8 respectively, via email, on payment of a non-refundable and non-adjustable document fee of Rs 5 lakh.
“All bidding parties will need to fulfill eligibility criteria and other requirements specified in the ITB. The soft copies of pre-qualification documents and the technical proposals must be submitted to FSDL by 5 pm, 14th September, followed by delivery to FSDL in physical form by 6 pm, 17th September.”
With the addition of a new franchise, this year’s ISL, which will be played in three venues in Goa amid strict health and safety measures, will have 11 teams.