East Bengal's announcement that they had picked up a majority investor in Shree Cements has swept Indian football up in its wake. PTI spoke to the owner of Shree Cements, Hari Mohan Bangur, post the announcement. ESPN presents select quotes from the interview, and what we feel it would entail for the future of one of Indian football's oldest institutions.
Will East Bengal play in the ISL this season?
"We are 100 per cent hopeful of completing the formalities and play in the ISL. We will definitely play this season. The handover is yet to be done; the intent to take over was signed yesterday. Within 5-10 days, by the middle of the month we will finalise everything."
Inference - All indications point towards yes.
How much stake has Shree Cements taken up in East Bengal?
76%. This comes with majority on the board.
"All major decisions will be taken by the company which will have representatives from both parties and major decisions will be taken by the Board on rationality basis."
Inference - A change of guard at the top is to be expected.
Will there be any changes to the name of the club?
"We have not thought about the name yet but East Bengal will be very much part of the name and figure prominently. But we too want to take some recognition somewhere or other."
Inference - Changes are to be expected, on the lines of how Mohun Bagan is now ATK Mohun Bagan, after the three-time ISL champions acquired MB.
Will there be any changes to the club logo and club colours?
"We would like to maintain the tradition. We will give full prominence to the jersey colours and logo. We want to give recognition to everything."
Inference - It appears, no.
Why invest in East Bengal?
"East Bengal were in search of an investor for quite a long time, and their negotiation last time broke in the final stages. And for us, we thought this was an opportunity to become a long-term investor and serve Indian football.
"All sports want money and professionalism. Sport will not go forward unless you have big money.
"We have to have good coaching, players, facilities, and for that one way or other some hand holding was necessary. Shree Cement and East Bengal will become good partners."
Any apprehensions because of how Quess' partnership with the club broke down?
"At this point of time we think that things will work out very well. We never faced any difficulty. I don't know what happened with Quess, it's their problem,"