East Bengal’s former investors Quess Corp, who ended their tie-up with the club on May 31, on Friday rubbished allegations of non-payments to its players and said they are a responsible corporate group and will meet all obligations.
“We would like to clarify that we are a responsible corporate and our obligations to all will be met. We have been working closely with our representatives in Kolkata to ensure that this transition happens smoothly and with minimal discomfort,” the Bangalore-based group said in a statement.
One month into the Covid-19 lockdown, the club applied the ‘force maejeure’ clause, thus, terminating their contracts in advance and purportedly sent eviction notice to some of their players in May.
Five players including Abhishek Ambekar, Pintu Mahata and Rakshit Dagar then sent notice to Quess asking for salaries for the month of April and May.
Terming the allegations unverified, it further said: “It has come to our notice that there are untoward allegations, most of them unverified, doing the rounds on how players of the football club have been denied their salaries as an outcome of the termination of the agreement between Quess Corp and EBFC.”
East Bengal have terminated their tie-up with Quess Corp, who had a 70% stake in the club. Both the parties had a three-year deal but the Bengaluru-based investors exited in two years.
There is little 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.
This has led to further speculation that East Bengal may not be able to take part in Calcutta Football League and IFA Shield.
The All India Football Federation had also asked East Bengal to clarify the ownership structure following Quess’ exit to clear AFC’s club licensing criteria.
“The formalities pertaining to the termination of the JV agreement between Quess, QEBFC and EBFC is underway and is expected to be completed soon. While Quess will do everything to protect the value of its shareholders, we will uphold the future of the game and its supporters,” it added.
The century-old club is currently in desperate lookout for new investors in their bid to follow arch-rivals Mohun Bagan into joining the Indian Super League.