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FPAI's inner disharmony comes out over support for East Bengal [UPDATED]

THE FOOTBALL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION OF INDIA has had its internal politics come out in public over a letter they sent to AIFF supporting East Bengal's including in ISL 2020-21; which the FPAI President Renedy Singh distanced himself from hours after it went out.

The lletter, signed by FPAI General Manager Cyrus Confectioner and addressed to AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das, says that given East Bengal's history and fan following they should be included in the ISL in the interest of the sport,

"In this, we the Association sincerely urge you, to include the East Bengal Club, Kolkata, into the ISL, without any hesitation or delay. The Club is rich in history and is one of the oldest and most premier Clubs, having a massive fan following, something which the Sport needs for it to grow and thrive in India."

The request by nature is unusual, since a players' body doesn't usually advocate for a club. The previous paragraph, though, aims to justify this move,

"The Players need more Football Clubs tpo play for and earn their livelihood. As such, the Player & Club go hand in hand, and both are necessary for the survival of the game. Hence, we need to support Clubs too, as and when we deem necessary."

You can read the full letter here...

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The letter expresses happiness that Mohun Bagan have entered the ISL and also says other potential clubs which can fulfill the required criteria for playing in the ISL should also be considered for inclusion.

The FPAI is not formally recognised as a players' association by the AIFF but they have been included in many crucial discussions as a relevant organisation in recent years; especially when the debate was raging about how the Indian league system should be restructured.

East Bengal players who are approaching the AIFF about unpaid salaries are also receiving help from the FPAI in filing their claims.

The letter immediately sparked controversy over whether a players' body should expres support for any one club. Not long after the letter was leaked to the media, FPAI President and former Indian national team captain Renedy Singh wrote to AIFF saying he was unaware of the letter going out on FPAI's behalf and strongly disagreed with the stance it took.

You can read the relevant part of Renedy's email to AIFF here,

Renedy Singh's Reply

The whole saga portrays FPAI's internal administration in a negative light. The General Manager, it seems, went out on his own volition to take a stance on a controversial situation unfolding in Indian football without the knowledge or consent of his own President.

Whether this will lead to any change in the FPAI administration remains to be seen; but for now, for all intents and purposes, FPAI appears to have stood aside from the situation regarding East Bengal's attempt to enter the ISL this season.

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