East Bengal were virtually crowned the champions of the CFL on Wednesday following a “no-show” from their arch-rivals Mohun Bagan at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium, Kolkata. Despite Mohun Bagan demanding a postponement of the match, officials denied their formal request leading to the situation.
East Bengal were given a walkover by the match officials on Wednesday after their opponents, Mohun Bagan, refused to step in for the match. The match was scheduled to start at 3pm, and as per rules, East Bengal submitted their team list and started training, but Bagan players did not show up even after 30 minutes resulting in the match official giving East Bengal a win by walkover.
Bagan's management had a put in a request earlier, requesting the Indian Football Association (IFA) for a postponement because of "lack of practice" at the venue, but the IFA refused to readjust their schedule, resulting in an awkward situation for the East Bengal players. Despite calling the Bagan players and waiting for them to arrive at the stadium, the match officials were left with no choice but to award East Bengal 3 points for the result.
This win means that East Bengal will be crowned the champions of the CFL for the seventh straight time with a lead of 24 points at the top of the 11-team league table.
Expressing his disappointment at the situation, East Bengal captain Arnab Mondal said: "We were mentally ready to play and not bothered by what happens outside the pitch.You don't want to be crowned champions like this. A player knows that each point in any league has to be earned. I can't speak for Mohun Bagan players but as a footballer, I feel bad about this.”
In 1985, East Bengal had won the CFL in similar fashion after the same rivals, Mohun Bagan, had refused to show up at the match venue.