The impasse between the Indian Football Association and Mohun Bagan has resulted, for now, in the ouster of the Calcutta club from the 115th Pepsi Durand Cup roster.
The association-club spat, which overflowed to the IFA denying permission to Bagan if the latter failed to confirm for the IFA Shield, has now resulted in the Durand committee sending a fax to the club withdrawing its invitation.
The IFA, meanwhile, said that they are still awaiting Bagan’s decision on their participation in the IFA Shield. “If they participate in the IFA Shield, the association will request the Durand committee to take them in,” a senior IFA official said. However, it was added that the association would ensure “exemplary punishment” to the club if they do not play the IFA Shield. The fixture of the tournament will be finalised Monday.
For their part, the organisers have stuck to their deadline and with Bagan’s confirmation not reaching them by Sunday, the sixteen-time Durand champions have been dropped from this year’s tournament.
The Durand tournament society secretary-general said even if Bagan were to be cleared now, they would not be accommodated.
As expected, the two replacements are Air India Mumbai and Punjab State Electricty Board (PSEB). They have been placed in groups B and D, respectively.
Fourteen-time Durand champions East Bengal kick-off against Air India on Friday. Mohammedan Sporting, playing in the Durand Cup after a lapse of five years start their campaign against Tata Football Academy(TFA).
Meanwhile, Assam Regimental Centre (ARC), Shillong entered the twelve-team league stage, thrashing Indian Navy 3-0. Midfielder Gordan scored in the 23rd minute, with a stiff left footer, after trapping a cross from right back Lalretpuia. Five minutes before half time, Lalreitpuia scored from an acute angle. Striker Sansel Koirang, made it 3-0 in the 76th minute, flicking over Navy goalkeeper V.S. Mankotia’s head.
The second-stage fixtures from December 31 to January 5 are as follows
n Dec. 31: Army XI vs ITI and TFA vs JCT.
n Jan. 1: PSEB vs ARC and Air India vs MEG Bangalore.
n Jan. 2: Army XI vs Vasco, Mohammedan Sporting Vs TFA.
n Jan. 3: Salgaocar vs ARC and East Bengal vs Air India.
n Jan. 4: Vasco vs ITI and Mohammedan Sporting Vs JCT.
n Jan. 5: Salgaocar vs ARC, East Bengal vs MEG.
n Jan. 6: Rest day.
n Jan. 7: First semi-final (Winners of Group A vs Group C).
n Jan. 8: Second semi-final (Winners of Group B vs Group D).
n January 10: Final.