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AIFF gives East Bengal one more month to complete Quess Corp separation

EAST BENGAL ARE in the process of officially separating from their main corporate investors Quess Corp, and the AIFF is giving them the time to sort out the paperwork.

The club joined hands with Quess in 2018 with an express intention of getting into the Indian Super League. But internal conflicts soon emerged to the fore as Quess officials came at odds with the East Bengal club officials. The feud intensified when Quess joined the rebel alliance of I-League clubs who were at odds with AIFF over the roadmap for Indian football's future, going as far as boycotting the 2019 edition of Super Cup.

It was clear that Quess and East Bengal would go their separate ways. Their contract had an exit clause that said if within 3 years Quess didn't get EB into ISL the partnership would come to an end; which put its natural expiration date at May 2021. However, Quess were facing losses at the market; and as time passed decided not to fund another season at East Bengal. They tried to find a buyer for their 70% stakes in East Bengal's football and cricket teams, but when no such deal could be worked out, chose to leave outright.

As of 31st May, the partnership is, for all intents and purposes, over. However, the legal paperwork is still to be worked out; which is necessary for East Bengal's club licensing process and their efforts to get into ISL in the 2020-21 season itself by signing a new investor like their arch rivals Mohun Bagan have done.

Originally, AIFF and FSDL had given East Bengal time till May to sort out their investment and company structure. However, with the current COVID-19 pandemic, the national football season is not expected to start before October; it may even be pushed back to November. Hence, word is, AIFF have given East Bengal another month to get everything in place.

The club has already established a new private limited company to run the football team and what remains now is the legal process of transferring the sporting rights from Quess East Bengal Ltd to the new entity.

While doubt still remains over East Bengal would manage to make a transition from I-League to ISL given the current condition of the economy and uncertainties about the next season, the club officials have repeatedly claimed that they're confident they will play in the ISL next season. For now, it seems they have a few more weeks at hand to ensure that the famous Kolkata Derby gets to continue at the national stage.

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