Bengal football body, FSDL to meet over future of Kolkata clubs

football icon league 260Kolkata: Bengal's Indian Football Association (IFA) president Subrata Dutta will meet the organisers of the Indian Super League (ISL) Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) over the weekend to discuss alternate contract options for inducting city soccer giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan into the proposed 10-team new league.

Both clubs had been previously asked to be part of the ISL which will be a 10-team affair in the future with eight ISL franchises and two I-League clubs.

But for that to happen, FSDL -- a joint venture between IMG-Reliance and Star India -- offered licensing agreement, it was learnt, where the licensor (in this case Mohun Bagan and East Bengal) grants the licensee the right to produce and sell goods, apply a brand name or trademark, or use patented technology owned by the licensor.

The licensee usually submits to a series of conditions regarding the use of the licensor's property and agrees to make payments known as royalties.

"The clubs would never agree to give the rights to sub license, transfer or assign to the licensee. They would also object on modifying the club's name, logo or colour," Dutta, who is also All India Football Federation (AIFF) senior vice-president, told IANS on Wednesday.

It was also learnt that both clubs want a 50-50 joint venture agreement where the club will share the management of football affairs along with the licensee/sponsor.

The arrangement both teams are looking for is what East Bengal still have with United Breweries (UB) group, where they are 50 per cent stakeholder.

On Tuesday, Bagan in a statement had said, since the going away of Mcdowell's in the mid-season three years back, we were frantically looking for partners.

"We had also approached IMG-R (FSDL) and various rounds of discussions had taken place. The prospect of playing in ISL was also discussed. IMG R (FSDL) had also come up with lot of options and ideas," it said.

"During all levels of discussion we had always said amongst various other things, the Logo, Jersey colours and most importantly the name of our beloved club cannot be changed at any cost.

"But to our surprise when we received the Draft agreement, none of the points was incorporated or mentioned. But we still believe that all disputes can be resolved through meaningful dialogue and discussions."

Both clubs are desperately looking for corporate backers in order to take part in the new 10-team football league comprising Indian Super League (ISL) franchises and I-League clubs.

Rumours are doing the rounds that if sponsors are not found by May, the league might not kick-off in 2017-18.

As most players would become free agents by the end of May and teams, both in the ISL and the I-League, would need to clarity on whether there will be one new league in 2017-18 from November that runs for five to seven months or status quo.