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East Bengal in sight of CFL record as Bagan shies away from ‘Derby’

Defending champion East Bengal is likely to earn a record seventh consecutive Calcutta Football League premier division crown as traditional rival Mohun Bagan stuck to its decision of staying away from the season’s first local ‘Derby’ on Wednesday.

Bagan placed a string of conditions before the Indian Football Association and charged the latter of creating organisational disorder while scheduling the match more than 50km away at Kalyani.

This was because the regular venue, Salt Lake Stadium, was closed for renovation ahead of next year’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

Bagan, which had some days ago prevailed on IFA in securing a replay of a match that was abandoned because of ground invasion by fans, failed to gain support from the State body this time.

IFA did not heed Bagan’s request for postponement and stuck to the previously announced schedule.

No show

East Bengal, which did not raise any objection about the match, arrived for the kick-off on time and waited on the ground.

With Bagan not turning up 30 minutes after the scheduled kick-off time at 3 pm, the match officials called off the match.

Match commissioner Bikash Mukherjee said he would send his report to IFA which would decide on the fate of the match.

IFA’s CFL sub-committee will take the decision according to provisions in the tournament rule book, which gives full points to the team present in the situation of a walkover.

East Bengal, in all likelihood, will get full points, which will take it to the doorstep of retaining the title for a record seventh time in the 118-year-old tournament.

East Bengal, which is currently on 21 points from seven consecutive wins, will need just one more point to ensure the crown once it is awarded the three points from this ‘Derby’.

East Bengal also holds the record of 37 CFL titles.

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