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Rs 16 lakh relief for Mohun Bagan players

Calcutta: There was a level of relief in Mohun Bagan ranks this morning as money started dribbling in. Several of the players received part payment for the ensuing season, and ex-justice G.N. Ray said cheques amounting to about Rs 16 lakh were given out.

Ray is one of the three special officers appointed by the Calcutta High Court to look after the football business of the club.

This virtually ends the protest by senior players, including outstation recruits, contracted by the club, who had said they just wouldn’t play if they were not paid. A major crisis was averted prior to the IFA’s one-day soccer meet with promise of payment.

Ray said even the coaches (coach Aloke Mukherjee and goalkeeping coach Atanu Bhattacharya) received part payment. “This is a lump-sum initial instalment,” said Ray. “The rest of the payment will be staggered over the months.”

Ray, however, refused to divulge the amount paid to particular players, saying this was a bit of “secret that clubs would want to keep.” That, in the face of the fact that all payments were by cheque, doesn’t sound too convincing, though.

Ray also said that the club’s sponsor, the UB Group, had cleared the payment of Brazilian Marcos (who arrives at the weekend), though the payment of the other Brazilian, Jose Ramirez Barreto, has yet to be cleared. “That is a rather large sum of money, and we are still at the negotiation table over this,” said Ray. He said he was “sure” the club will be able to keep the services of Barreto, because he is an asset to the team.

The problem with the club’s final sponsorship, though, has yet to be cleared by the sponsors.

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