Footballer Abinash Ruidas finds himself in a bizarre contract situation at East Bengal Football club. The Football Players Association of India has written into the All India Football Federation to intervene on behalf of 21-year-old left winger, after it emerged that he has two more years to serve with the Kolkata club, longer than he had originally thought.
Cyrus Confectioner, general manager of the FPAI, informed The Field that they had written to the AIFF on behalf of the player, in order to clarify Ruidas’ situation as the winger had signed a blank piece of paper while signing a contract with the Red and Golds in 2016.
“He originally thought he was signing a one-year contract. Looking at the situation, he wanted to go into the Indian Super League draft, which takes place on August 23. Later, he was informed by the East Bengal management that his contract was till 2019 and not May 2017,” said Confectioner.
Debabrata Sarkar, East Bengal official in charge of negotiating with all incoming players, chose not to comment on the matter, “I will not say anything further on this. I will only tell you this, we have had our say in the matter and we have handed all documents over to the Indian Football Association, who are the rightful authority.”
The IFA is the official body which is responsible for the administration and conduct of association football tournament in the state of West Bengal, including the registration of football players associated with all clubs in the state.
Utpal Ganguli, an official and a lawyer associated with the IFA confirmed that they had received all official communication and Ruidas’ contract from East Bengal and they had gone through it.
“I have seen the contract and can confirm that two years, 2017-18 and 2018-19 are still pending and that it (the contract) is very much valid,” said Ganguli. When asked if they had received a query or a complaint regarding the contract, he replied, “We can only act if there’s a complainant. So far, we have received no such letter.”
Confectioner agrees that they’re on thin ground and there appears to be no way out of the contract for Ruidas, “There is no legal recourse. What legal recourse can be there when the player has signed a blank piece of paper?”
“But we wrote into the AIFF, asking for a copy of the contract. They also don’t have a contract and East Bengal haven’t made it public either. We had two major points in our letter, they have a contract, why don’t we have one and to resolve the matter before the 23rd so that he (Ruidas) could participate in the draft,” says Confectioner.
The FPAI GM also admitted it wasn’t “ideal” for Ruidas to have signed a blank sheet of paper but rued the fact that some clubs made players, who are desperate for first team action, sign such contracts. He also stated that the matter had been pending for two weeks and should have been resolved at the earliest.
Ganguli, on hearing that the FPAI had written into the AIFF, told The Field that the IFA was responsible for the registration of the players and not the AIFF.
An AIFF official, on condition of anonymity agreed to the IFA’s statements and stated that the AIFF had very little to do in this matter, “The IFA registers all players based out of West Bengal and all Kolkata and state clubs function under their jurisdiction. The only time that the AIFF is involved is before the I-League, when the respective clubs have to register their players with the federation.”
The source did mention that the federation is pondering various ways to ensure that a repeat of this incident does not occur. Recommended steps include the public revealing of contracts on AIFF’s website in order to make it more transparent.
As things stand, things look bleak for the ex-Bhowanipore youngster even though he passed his medical to appear in the ISL draft. With East Bengal likely to retain the services of the flying winger for the next two years unless it is mutually terminated by his parent club, even the AIFF’s mediation may not help Ruidas register for Sunday’s draft in time.