The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sponsor stays with Bagan

Calcutta: In spite of the controversy which has dogged Mohun Bagan, football team sponsors UB Group are not leaving the club at the moment “unless there are compelling reasons”.

The chairman of the UB Group, Vijay Mallya, who was in the city Thursday for the felicitation of National League winners East Bengal, said: “What is currently happening in Mohun Bagan is really unfortunate. But we are not leaving them right now.”

The high court had asked the Mohun Bagan executive committee to stay away from activities related to football and a three-member committee was formed. A member of that committee, Umesh Banerjee, resigned Tuesday and was replaced by G.N. Ray.

Mallya, however, made it clear he was not all happy with the happenings at the club, which his company has been sponsoring for the last few years.

“I think football has taken a back seat in the club. This trend has to change very soon,” Mallya said. He informed the UB Group will take a wait-and-watch policy on the issue. “Mohun Bagan secretary Anjan Mitra got in touch with me and asked for some time. I’m ready to give him that,” the liquor baron said.

Asked about the court order that prevents McDowell and Company Ltd from functioning as the title sponsor of Mohun Bagan, Mallya said: “We’ll see to the end of it. If needed, we’ll also move court.”

However, he added that his company will have no other option but to dissociate itself from Mohun Bagan if the situation becomes too compelling. “That will be the last option. I hope we don’t reach that situation.”

Commenting on the players’ complaint that they are not getting their dues, Mallya said: “It can’t be. If someone (read Bhaichung Bhutia) has something to say on that, he should come straight to me.”

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