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East Bengal officials blame Quess for Super Cup pullout, side with AIFF

AS THE THREAT OF A major fine looms on the head of multiple I-League clubs for boycotting the Super Cup, the East Bengal officials have taken a route of standing with AIFF's position on the matter and blaming their decision to pull-out from the knockout tournament on their commercial partners Quess.

According to multiple reports, East Bengal club officials have written to the Federation conceding that pulling out of the Super Cup was wrong on the clubs' part. They have written that it was the wish of the EB officials to participate, and the decision not to play was unilaterally taken by the Quess Corp administration.

Quess Corp, who are the principal investors and own majority stakes of the East Bengal football team, decided to pull out of the Super Cup as part of the decision taken by majority of the I-League clubs when the AIFF refused to grant them an audience with its President Mr Praful Patel about the upcoming restructuring of football leagues in the country, which threatens to forcefully relegate most of the current top flight clubs. Later, although AIFF fixed a date for the meeting they wanted, the Federation refused to reschedule the already cancelled Super Cup matches, which prompted the clubs to continue with the boycott.

During this time, East Bengal officials were constantly criticising the decision to pull out by Quess, and even tried to undermine them by putting together an 'East Bengal President's XI' and trying to get AIFF to let it participate in the place of the club's first team. Multiple officials have also been openly critical of head coach Alejandro Menendez for not using the club's own stadium for practice session and not even visiting the club premises. Recently one senior official even called the Spanish gaffer a "total failure" although East Bengal were in the title race till the last day of I-League 2018-19.

Arguably, it can be said that they could have won the league had they not spent the first few weeks of the league crippled by a transfer ban that was imposed on the club due to the improper practices its officials used to sign Minerva Punjab player Sukhdev Singh; the same East Bengal officials who later turned right around and called Menendez a failure and laid the blame on Quess for not winning the league.

It has been an open secret that the East Bengal club officials are feeling sidelined ever since Quess took over the football team and they are looking to get out of this partnership. It remains to be seen whether Quess Corp director Ajit Isaac, who has not budged an inch so far from his efforts to run the team in a professional way and remain a part of the I-League clubs' alliance, decides to hold his ground against the efforts to oust Quess or not.

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