Ticket controversy over first exhibition match of the Calcutta League, clubs and sponsor upset
The first exhibition match (League Match) of the Calcutta Premier League 2015 between Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting, scheduled to be staged on 10th August, Sunday at Barasat Stadium, around two hour’s drive from Kolkata by car, is all set to create new controversy. The exhibition tie might be played in an empty stadium if Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting, both the clubs, miffed at the strictness, showed by the North 24 Parganas police authority, boycott collecting tickets for the match. Police authority has conveyed the message to the Indian Football Association (IFA), the organizer of the Kolkata Premier League on Thursday that on the security ground it would not allow more than only four thousand spectators for the match at the stadium which has an accommodation of 13 thousands! Naturally, after being informed about the Police authority’s plans, both Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting officials, peeved at the IFA secretariat, stated on Thursday night that they would prefer not to collect the tickets for their members. Mohun Bagan secretary Anjan Mitra said, “We have nine thousand registered members. If we are given two thousand tickets, what will other seven thousand members say? It will not be possible for us to convince them. It is better not to collect a single ticket for our members.” The same statement was made by Mohammedan Sporting president Sultan Ahmed also. He angrily said, “We have so many supporters that will not be enough for the stadium of 13 thousand spectators. Naturally, what will we do with only two thousand tickets?”
Surprisingly, IFA secretary Utpal Ganguly has so far kept silence on the issue. He seems to be scared that protesting against the Police authority’s instructions might even provoke them to cancel the match.
More importantly, Star Jalsa, the television channel that has bought exclusive rights of televising 33 matches in the league live, is reportedly unhappy with the instruction from police authority regarding the spectators’ entry in the stadium on Sunday. None of the representatives from the TV channel wanted to speak on the issue. But it has been learnt from the IFA office that the television sponsor of the Kolkata League will also take easily if the first exhibition tie is played at an empty stadium on coming Sunday. In the mean time, according to the ongoing inspection of the three enclose grounds, East Bengal, Mohammedan Sporting and Mohun Bagan by the public works and development department of state government, the members gallery of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal ground has not yet been declared fit. At the same time, Mohun Bagan officials have also submitted a letter to the IFA, informing their desire not to play their matches in the Kolkata league at home ground. Rather they want to play all their matches at the Barasat Stadium.
Incidentally, club officials registered its 26 footballers including Brazilian defender Gustavo Silva on Friday. Only Kean Lewis will have sign for the club within next couple of days as his papers, related to signing, has not yet arrived from Major League Soccer club Houston Dynamo.
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