Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Mohammedan Sporting find support; IFA says 'Big Three' should be respected

Kolkata: The future of Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting in Indian football's road map being prepared by the FIFA and AFC officials on Wednesday got a big boost.

Snubbed by the Indian Super League, the 'Big Three' heritage clubs got a strong representation from the West Bengal governing body IFA in a meeting with a the FIFA-AFC team.

Mohun Bagan's Sony Norde (L) is tackled by East Bengal's Willis Deon Plaza (C) as Mehtab Hossain looks on during an Indian I-League football match between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal at the Kanchenjungha Stadium in Siliguri on February 12, 2017. The anticipated derby match ended with a drawless 0-0 result. / AFP PHOTO / DIPTENDU DUTTA

File photo of a match between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. AFP

The FIFA-AFC team was in Kolkata on a two-day visit for market research ahead of preparing the blueprint of Indian football ready by October-November.

IFA president Subrata Dutta and secretary Utpal Ganguli briefed Nic Coward, a consultant to FIFA, and Alex Phillips, head of AFC-UEFA affairs, about the logjam as both ISL and I- League will run concurrently this season.

"We are ready to go any length to safeguard the interest of the three clubs. If needed we will organise an alternate league. They heard us out patiently," Ganguli told reporters.

"I hope the decision will be in our favour but if otherwise, we will take necessary steps. They realised the issue, though they have not said anything specific," a hopeful Ganguli added.

The IFA maintained that the heritage clubs should not be kept in the same bracket as franchise clubs.

"They should be invited and not asked for franchise fee when there is one league in the country. They have taken the sport to a certain level where sponsors started coming, they should be given that respect," Ganguli said.

The visiting FIFA and AFC officials will next meet the representatives of three clubs.

Updated Date: Sep 13, 2017 22:23 PM

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