EAST BENGAL HAVE SIGNED an investment deal with Emami Group, ending 2 years of financial instability.
Emami Group, a Kolkata-based business conglomerate which with more than a hundred brands under its portfolio, has entered a deal with East Bengal to take over majority shares in the multi-sport club's football department.
In the past, East Bengal signed invesment deals with United Spirits, Quess Group and Shree Cement Limited. Among them, Quess and SCL held majority shares. But the deals were ended over disagreements between the parties.
The Emami-East Bengal deal, however, has more promising terms and signed under much better circumstances. Unlike Quess & SCL deals, this one only concerns the club's football teams. The East Bengal cricket, hockey and athletic teams will still be operated by the club's member-elected officials. Also, unlike the SCL deal, this agreement excludes any properties owned by the East Bengal Club; which means the club's elected officials will retain full control over the East Bengal Ground, club tent and other assets that belong to the 102 year old club.
Emami Group, being the majority investors, will hold 77% shares of the team. East Bengal Club will retain the remaining 23%. Emami will provide the budget for the team to play in Indian Super League and other competitions; and enjoy the revenue that come from operating the team.
The deal was signed today, a day after East Bengal's birthday, at the Oberoi Grand in Kolkata. Among those present at the occasion were East Bengal General Secretary Kalyan Majumdar and Vice President Ajay Chatterjee. From Emami Group, two directors were present; namely Aditya Agarwal and Manish Goenka.
In front of assembled fans, the new logo of the joint venture was unveiled and the officials exchanged signed agreements to make it official.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Aditya Agarwal said,
"We have been waiting for this day. Today Emami and East Bengal are starting a new journey... East Bengal Club is not just a football club, it's Bengalis' emotions, Bengalis' traditions... Emami was born in Bengal. We understand the emotions because we grew up here... I feel proud to partner with that tradition... we need some time to build a good, strong team, but we will do it."
East Bengal have appointed former Indian football team head coach Stephen Constantine as their new manager and player signings are being completed every day.
Due to the unstable nature of their deal with SCL, East Bengal's performance suffered over the last two seasons. The club will look to correct that this time as it prepares to begin the season with its Durand Cup campaign.