East Bengal slams AIFF for `unprofessionalism`

Kolkata: Chasing a hat-trick of titles in the Federation Cup, seven-time champions East Bengal on Thursday hit out at the AIFF, saying the premier tournament was being organised "unprofessionally".

East Bengal general secretary Kalyan Majumdar said there was no promotion of the tournament in Kolkata and doubted whether 10 per cent of the football lovers would know about it.

"Even an amateur level tournament is better organised. Many football lovers would not know about it. Even the 7.30 pm start is crazy," Majumdar said at a meet - the press programme - at the Calcutta Sports Journalists` Club.

"Also, it will be shown by a channel that does not have a reach outside Bengal. I am not sure whether they (the AIFF) want the football followers to watch the matches," he said.

Ridiculing the Rs 25 lakh prize purse, the East Bengal top official said, "It won`t make even a player`s salary."

In such a scenario, making the AFC Cup is the only motivation for a club in India, Majumdar said. "Winning the Federation Cup gives us a ticket to AFC Cup, that`s the only big attraction. It helps the top recruited players to make their name on an international stage."

East Bengal have ignored goalkeeper Abhra Mondal, who was named skipper for the upcoming season, in a 20-member squad announced on Wednesday.

Majumdar said captain was a honorary post given to the senior most player at East Bengal.

The defending champions will take on Mohammedan Sporting on September 17 here to kick off their campaign in group C, which also has Dempo and Pune FC.

Kolkata will also host the group D matches while groups A and B will be played in Pune.


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