Fans Protest Against Baichung Bhutia’s Stand On ISL

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Kolkata: Once being worshipped as a God-like figure by the fans of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, Indian football icon Baichung Bhutia is now being vilified by the same supporters.

And it is mainly due to his support to his support to the now top-tier Indian Super League (ISL), as fans believe it was the I-League where he rose to fame.

According to a report, one fan was quoted as saying, “Bhaichung Bhutia is a big name, an icon in Indian football. But he has forgotten the clubs that made him the icon, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. He is implicitly supporting the ISL and forgetting the Kolkata football which played such a big role in his rise.”

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As the uncertainty over the future of both the Kolkata-based clubs grows after refusing to pay a staggering franchise fee, Mohan Bagan and East Bengal have called for fans to express their solidarity and support.

Speaking at a press conference Mohun Bagan finance secretary Debasish Dutta said, “We have agreed in totality that if we have to show our strength, we will do it on the field.

“We request all our fans to fill in the ground in such a way the stands are packed and there’s 5,000 more outside. And no tickets will be free. We want to show our strength.”

He also added, “At the same time we won’t ask them (fans) to not go to ISL. They are free to support ISL but our request is to show our strength for each of our matches in the I-League.”

Recalling the famous victory of 1911, he said, “History says we have won bigger battles that too in barefoot. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are the clubs because of their fans, their performances on the field. We have always been in top five of country’s league. We have seen many clubs — Dempo, Pune FC, Mahindra United to name a few — come and go but we are permanent. These eight (ISL) clubs are jut three-year-olds,” Debasish said.