AIFF makes exception, gives EB till July 31 to finish Club Licensing process

City football giants East Bengal have been given some breathing space by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) as the governing body of football in the country decided to extend the I-League outfit’s deadline on the Club Licensing process by seven days.

The Club Licensing administration of AIFF, on July 14, distributed the Club Licensing Application Pack (CLAP) to all the clubs who are eligible to undergo the Indian Club Licensing process for the 2020-21 season.

Clubs will have to confirm their intention to undergo the Indian Club Licensing process for the 2020-21 season by submitting the signed copy of the Club Licensing Agreement on or before July 24, 2020, an AIFF statement said. But an exception has been made for East Bengal.

“Yes, upto 31st July as requested by them,” AIFF general secretary Kushal Das told IANS on Thursday.

It has been learnt that the request was made to AIFF by a director of Quess East Bengal after they got the club licensing document and deadline.

East Bengal are in troubled waters after acrimoniously terminating their tie-up with Quess Corp, who had a 70 per cent stake in the club. They had a three-year deal but the Bengaluru-based investors exited on May 31.

But the same has not been informed to AIFF despite the sport’s governing body in the country asking them to inform the club’s status and change of ownership structure. To acquire the AFC Club licensing for the 2020-21 season, East Bengal has to submit a valid declaration to the AIFF, outlining the ownership.

On Tuesday, AIFF sent the CLAP to all clubs and East Bengal risked missing out of AIFF and AFC competitions if it did not act by July 24 on the matter.

As per sources, Quess is waiting for a response from East Bengal after sending it a draft of agreement in terms of its conclusion while keeping options of selling the company’s equities to a third party, if there is such a need.

The red and golds have, as per sources, signed the proposed draft of termination and sent it back to Quess for further formalities.

Therefore, it is expected that East Bengal will get back the sporting rights in football-related affairs. East Bengal has had a sour relationship with Quess since the company came on board.