The clock has started ticking for city football giants East Bengal to officially declare their change of ownership as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Tuesday sent out the club licensing agreements to all Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League clubs as part of the protocol.
All clubs, including East Bengal, have to sign the agreement and send it back to AIFF in the next 10 days to be part of the 2020-2021 licensing criteria, failing which will rule them out of all AIFF competitions. East Bengal acrimoniously terminated their tie-up with Quess Corp, who had a 70 per cent stake in the club. They had a three-year deal but the Bengaluru-based investors exited on May 31.
But the same has not been informed to AIFF despite the sport's governing body in the country asking them to inform the club's status and change of ownership structure more than a month back.
Quess Chairman Ajit Isaac, in a letter to AIFF recently, had asked for more time stating that till then all communication should be made through them. To acquire the AFC Club licensing for the 2020-21 season, East Bengal has to submit a valid declaration to the AIFF, outlining the ownership.
"The licensing agreements have been sent to all ISL and I-League clubs as per protocol. They will have to sign it and send it back to AIFF in the next 10 days to be part of the club licensing criteria. Failing this would rule any club out of AIFF competitions," a top source close to the development told IANS on condition of anonymity.
The club licensing agreement, therefore, has been sent to 'Quess East Bengal' as per official communication since the AIFF has not been informed of any change of ownership.
"They have not informed anything about change of ownership to AIFF. So it will go as per the club registered with them and send all official communication to Quess only," the source added.
Meanwhile, it has also been learnt that Quess is waiting for a response from East Bengal after sending it a draft of agreement in terms of its conclusion while keeping options of selling the company's equities to a third party, if there is such a need.
The red and golds have, as per sources, signed the proposed draft of termination and sent it back to Quess for further formalities.
Therefore, it is expected that East Bengal will get back the sporting rights in football-related affairs.
East Bengal has had a sour relationship with Quess since the company came on board.