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Still not clear who will pay Bagan’s star

Calcutta: Jose Ramirez Barreto is back in the city and is ready to sign for Mohun Bagan. The big question is who will pay his fees. The current impasse in the club has resulted in sponsor United Breweries (UB) Group restricting the club’s yearly expense at an estimated Rs 1.55 crore.

That is while East Bengal has a sanction of around Rs 2.25 crore and while Bagan now do not have the money to pay Barreto (though fellow-Brazilian Marcos Perreira’s money might just be arranged). Club president Swapan Sadhan Bose, Wednesday said: “This will not be a problem, and as far as the club’s prestige goes, that will be intact.”

However, Bose made it clear that it will not be he who commits to pay Barreto. “Let the people who are looking after club matters now arrange the money. I will step in only if they surrender. I will then ‘arrange’ the money.”

The other day assistant secretary Balaram Chowdhury, also present Wednesday, had said Bose had committed to Barreto’s payment. On Wednesday the president changed the canvas.

Another announcement by Bose was that the club should demand payment at par with East Bengal. “We should settle for no less than that amount,” he said. “In case the UB Group does not agree, I promise that I will step in to provide all the money and UB will not be necessary any more.”

When asked how was it that he was willing to sponsor all of the club on his own and not a far less amount needed for Barreto, the NRI president avoided the issue.

Barreto said he wasn’t unduly worried about payment. “I will concentrate on the football,” he said.

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