While East Bengal might be crying foul after the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) player status committee allowed Jobby Justin to play for Indian Super League (ISL) club ATK, the documents provided by them do not fall in line with the rules, as per documents accessed by IANS.
While it has been learnt from sources that East Bengal are likely to appeal the decision despite issuing the player with a No Objection Certificate (NOC), the whole process has once again brought to the fore the unprofessional conduct of the age-old club.
Justin's case came to the fore after he had signed a contract with ATK and East Bengal insisted that the striker had put pen to paper on a contract with them as well. However, the player status committee after going through all documents came to the conclusion that the I-League outfit did not have substantial evidence and the case shifted in the player's favour.
According to the committee's report, in point no. 14, it says that "in the present matter, the submission of QEB regarding the letters alleged to have been signed by the Player cannot be considered as a valid Football Player Agreement as the said letter does not fulfil all four essentialia negotii of a Player Agreement".
"Hence, in light of the facts, circumstances and the Committee's findings in the present case, and considering the position of law examined in this regard, this Committee finds that, the letters submitted by QEB cannot be considered as a valid Player's Agreement as it does not fulfil all four essentialia negotii of a Player's agreement," reads point no. 15.
"Moreover, the Agreement signed between ATK and the Player is valid, and the Player had the right to sign an agreement with any Club six months prior to the expiry of the Player's last agreement which in case started from December 31, 2018. Hence, the Committee finds no reason for QEB to stop the Player from moving to another Club.
"The Committee hereby directs QEB to grant the NOC to Mr. Jobby Justin, the Player on or before July 22, 2019, to the Player. In case QEB fails to comply with the above directions for any reason within the time frame provided herein, this order shall be regarded as the Final NOC, for any purpose whatsoever," it further reads.
This isn't the first time that East Bengal have been caught on the wrong side of the contract regulations when it comes to player signing.
It was not long back when Abinash Ruidas found himself in a similar situation after the speedy winger was selected by Mumbai City FC in the ISL player's draft. East Bengal, in this case too, refused to issue the NOC to Ruidas and hence the transfer could not be completed.
According to the Red and Golds, the wiry Ruidas had another year's contract left with the club while the player refused such claims. Ruidas then alleged that East Bengal had forged his signature and shared fake contract papers with the Indian Football Association (IFA), West Bengal's parent body for football.
The AIFF had to intervene to solve the impasse and the governing body then formed a special committee which ruled that IFA's decision to allow East Bengal to register Ruidas because they possess a 'Token' is not the right course of action. There was no valid, written, enforceable and binding contract to go with it and therefore East Bengal had to finally issue a NOC to Ruidas.
At a time when the I-League clubs have time and again spoken about how the future of football development in the country is being hampered by the AIFF, such acts by the giants of Indian football clearly leaves a bad taste in the mouth.