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ISL deadline, players' wage dispute -- pressure mounts on East Bengal from multiple fronts

PRESSURE IS BUILDING on East Bengal officials in multiple ways as they make their final play to get into the ISL.

The club has just about a week left to produce the requisite bank guarantee to convince FSDL - the ISL organizers - to consider including them in the 2020-21 season. After talk with potential investors stalled for a couple of days, things have seemingly picked up again with the lawyers of the club and the potential investors preparing to meet face to face. In another situation things could have gone smoothly; but the extremely short deadline they're chasing is creating extra roadblocks that both parties are seeking to overcome.

Meanwhile, a number of the club's players are approaching the All India Football Federation (AIFF) about unpaid salaries. The likes of Pintu Mahata, Rakshit Dagar and Abhishek Ambekar are receiving legal help from the Football Players' Association of India (FPAI); and they are demanding their salaries for the months of May; and for those who are still contracted with the club, for June as well.

Until recently Quess, the principal owners of East Bengal's football team, had the responsibility to clear the players' wages or any issues relating to it. But as part of the separation agreement, East Bengal club management took on those responsibilities from the corporation. As a result, the officials of the centenarian club have suddenly found themselves in the crosshairs of a potential legal issue that may drain their resources and time as they try to close one of the most consequential deals in the club's history.

The club announced the signing of Francisco Jose Bruto Da Costa, former assistatnt coach of NorthEast United. A lot of fans took this as a sign that the club was going to play in the I-League this season; and the management had to hurriedly clarify that the newly signed coach would be given the job of the assistant coach if needed.

With the fans growing increasingly impatient over the lack of resolution on the whether EB will play in ISL this season or not, the pressure is the officials to deliver. Not just on the ISL front, but also on the salary-related issues raised by the players. Considering the club elections coming up this September; how the next week goes may well determine the fate of some of the senior club officials who have run the club for a very long time.

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