The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Association sees big loss ahead

Calcutta: The IFA Shield isn’t going anywhere for the IFA. Last year it was a fracas of a final off which East Bengal took home the Shield against Palmeiras of Brazil. That invited an AFC ban that prevented IFA from inviting foreign teams.

Thereafter started the dip in the association’s fortunes. Mohun Bagan refused to play. Then, this year a number of schedule and venue changes will, says a top association official, result in a loss of at least Rs 4,35,000, even before the income-expense account is drawn up.

“We had envisaged an earning of around Rs 2,85,000 from Mohammedan Sporting’s match versus Port Trust at Rabindra Sarobar (19,000 capacity) Friday.

However, even after the West Bengal State Council of Sports had given their green signal for the hosting of the match there in its letter of January 10, the Commissioner of Police sent a letter last Tuesday to relocate for ‘administrative reasons’,” he said.

“That meant a straight loss. At the Mohammedan Sporting ground (6,000 to 7,000 capacity) we can sell no more than Rs 1 lakh worth of tickets. The match has assumed paramount importance with the victory of Mohammedan Sporting against Vasco.

A victory will ensure a passage for the black-and-white brigade into the semi-finals after a long time. “We had printed the tickets with the match scheduled at the Rabindra Sarobar. Now everything has to be reworked.”

Also, said the official, “Initially it was decided that the semi-finals will be played on January 18 and 19 at the Salt Lake Stadium.

But later, with a political organisation holding it’s yearly conference, the semi-finals have to be played on January 19,” the official lamented. The day lost translated to a loss of “a minimum of Rs 2.5 lakh in revenue.”

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