Founder & Chairperson of Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) Nita Ambani, on Sunday, announced the official inclusion of the East Bengal Football Club in the Indian Super League ahead of its 2020 edition.

The quest that had started in April, of East Bengal FC to join ISL, has finally found its destination as one of the biggest football clubs in Asia will play the Indian Super League season. According to what The Bridge had reported, back in April in a meeting with the club representatives, FSDL had decided that would allow new teams such as East Bengal to pick up the bid papers to enter the league if they could fulfil the requisite criteria - for the Red and Golds it meant securing investors as soon as possible.

About a couple of months back, Singapore-based USEL group led by Prasun Mukhopadhyay had shown interest in acquiring shares and investing in the football club. East Bengal has separated from their previous investors Quess Corp in January. By the end of January, ISL had confirmed the inclusion of East Bengal’s arch-nemesis Mohun Bagan in the league joining hands with ATK FC. The merger has led to the naming of their as ATK Mohun Bagan.

After the USEL deal failed to go through, due to numerous reasons, a cloud of uncertainty had taken over East Bengal- the football club that is celebrating its centenary this year. However, with the help of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and FSDL, East Bengal finally signed a deal with Shree Cement ltd with the 3rd-largest cement manufacturing company in India. The deal that happened in the first week of September had almost confirmed the inclusion of the club in this year’s ISL. Reports suggested that Shree Cement were allowed 76% of their shares to Shree Cement for the deal to go through successfully. Fans were left in anticipation until Sunday, September 27, when the FSDL finally announced East Bengal as an official part of ISL 2020.

FSDL chairperson Nita Ambani said that this expansion of the Indian Super League, by incorporating East Bengal FC as the 11th team in the 7th ISL edition, opens limitless options for Indian football.

“It is such a happy and proud moment for ISL as we welcome East Bengal FC and their millions of fans into the League. The inclusion of both legacy clubs, i.e. East Bengal and Mohun Bagan (now ATK Mohun Bagan) opens limitless possibilities for Indian football, especially for talent development in the state,” Nita Ambani

“West Bengal has made an immense contribution to the growth of the beautiful game in India. ISL’s growing footprint in the state and across India, is yet another step towards our mission of building a competitive and robust football ecosystem in the country,” she added.

The 7th Indian Super League edition is most likely to be played in the November 2020-March 2021 window.
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