Derby put off over stadium security
The I-League Derby between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, scheduled on Sunday at the Salt Lake Stadium, has been postponed to a later date after police called for a reduction in the number of saleable tickets.
“The match has been postponed. The new date will be communicated soon,” I-League organisers All India Football Federation (AIFF) said on Wednesday.
Kunal Agarwal, deputy commissioner, headquarters, Bidhannagar Commissionerate, held a meeting with the match organiser Mohun Bagan and Salt Lake Stadium authorities. Following the meeting, police conveyed their inability to provide security for what will be a packed Salt Lake Stadium.
When contacted, Agarwal said they had not asked the I-League match to be postponed due to any security threat.
“We wanted to conduct the match in a controllable manner and had asked the organisers to reduce the number of saleable tickets,” he said.
Debashis Dutta, director Mohun Bagan, meanwhile, sent a letter to Sunando Dhar, the I-League CEO, requesting rescheduling of the match to a suitable date in January 2020.
Mohun Bagan’s media release though did not have any mention of a “suitable date in January 2020”.
The decision came as surprise to East Bengal though. “We are surprised. When we met the police last Thursday, they didn’t say anything like this,” Quess East Bengal CEO Sanjit Sen told The Telegraph.
Senior club official Debabrata Sarkar was more blunt. “I don’t thing there is such a situation in the state that we have to postpone a match,” he said.
The postponement would definitely help Mohun Bagan. Captain Gurjinder Kumar is serving a one-match suspension while Julen Colinas is out with a knee injury.
With the Derby now to be played after the transfer window opens in January, Bagan will also get the services of their new Senegalese frontliner Baba Diawara.