The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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IFA gets sponsors for play-off final

Calcutta, Nov. 9: The IFA has realised that holding back the Super Division League championship play-off final between East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting till Monday was not the best move.

Having kept the match pending for well over a month, the state body is trying to wake up and generate some interest. In an unprecedented move, the IFA called a press meet Saturday in the presence of coaches and officials of both teams.

The IFA officials claimed they have succeeded in drawing the attention of corporate bodies and announced names (TVS, Milo, UB) of those “sponsoring” this match. It’s for Monday’s game only, but the IFA is hopeful of getting their co-operation in the near future.

With the IFA proudly announcing that it has earned a whopping Rs 25 lakh from gate sales from the Super Division exhibition matches this season, club representatives wasted no time in demanding a share of the pie.

“The IFA is making profit because the clubs are attracting spectators. We deserve a share, especially since we are yet to get a sponsor,” said the Mohammedan Sporting secretary. His East Bengal counterpart echoed the demand.

The IFA avoided an immediate reply, though the treasurer said the matter will be discussed at its governing body meeting. No date was specified.

Adding spice to the gathering was East Bengal coach Subhas Bhowmick, who openly ridiculed the idea of having a play-off final in a league even though there is no tie for the top spot.

“As far as I am concerned, my team has won the league, since we finished two points clear of our nearest rivals. Monday’s is just an isolated match.” According to IFA rules, the final becomes necessary if the difference between the top two teams is three points or less.

Monday’s match will be telecast deferred live on Akash Bangla, a satellite channel. ESPN holds telecast rights of all matches conducted by the IFA, but this time they have made an exception and allowed the local satellite channel to beam the match from 30 minutes after the kick-off.

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