East Bengal will not be able to participate in the 2020 editions of the Calcutta Football League (CFL) and IFA Shield unless their investors Quess Corp return the sporting rights to the club.
Bengaluru-based business service providing company Quess Corp had stated their intention to end their association with the Kolkata giants East Bengal on May 31, 2020, for the last one year or so.
As per the contract between Quess and East Bengal which was legally drawn in 2018 after Quess came on board to become the club’s investor, the sporting rights of the football and cricket teams were transferred to Quess East Bengal FC, a Joint Venture formed between East Bengal and their investors. Quess had 70 per cent stake in the new entity while East Bengal had 30 per cent.
It was initially a three-year partnership but Quess have decided to make an exit after just two years.
There is no clarity on the exit strategy between the two parties and whether the sporting rights, currently enjoyed by the joint venture, has been transferred back to the club.
The following rights were transferred to the joint venture according to the contract between the club and Quess.
“The Club shall be entitled to independently pursue Hockey, Lawn Tennis, Table Tennis and Athletics without any objections and/or interruptions from the Company (“Club Domain Activities”). Apart from the Club Domain Activities, Football, Cricket and all other sporting activities which the Club pursues shall be collectively referred to as “Club Sporting Activities.”
“Club Sporting Activity of the teams participating on behalf of the Club in any sport across state-level, regional, national and international tournaments will be under the name ‘Quess East Bengal FC’.”
This means that unless Quess Corp transfers the sporting rights back to the club, the Red and Golds will not be able to take part in any football competition both at the national and state level.
Thus, even though East Bengal are registered with the Indian Football Association (IFA) as East Bengal Club and not Quess East Bengal FC, the club can still not take part in the CFL or IFA Shield.
East Bengal need to find a solution quickly if they are to participate in the traditional season opening tournaments - the IFA Shield and the CFL.