ISL: East Bengal and Kerala Blasters slapped with transfer ban

World football governing body FIFA has announced a transfer ban on East Bengal and Kerala Blasters. The two ISL clubs will be banned from signing new players in the upcoming transfer window due to non-payment of dues to previous recruits. 

The Indian football transfer window commences from June 9. The transfer ban comes into effect immediately as it was drafted on June 1 and forwarded by the All India Football Federation (AIFF). Both the clubs have failed to comply with financial obligations for their former players Johnny Acosta and Matej Poplatnik. The two clubs will have to pay a heavy fine to get the ban uplifted.

Transfer ban is a huge blow for East Bengal as the club is currently in between a dispute with majority stakeholder Shree Cement. The key investor is yet to reach a final agreement with the club officials. The transfer ban will further worsen the situation. Courtesy of this dispute, there are huge doubts about the club’s participation in ISL 2021/22. Moreover, East Bengal has already suspended social media activities due to ongoing dispute.

After the announcement of the transfer ban, Debabrata Sarkaar, East Bengal’s top official, said, “Shree Cement has communicated this through a letter. It’s true. We are taking immediate action.”

He also mentioned the club’s fallout with former investor Quess Corporation and blamed them for this issue. Debabrata said that we are paying the price for their wrongdoings. Costa Rican Johnny Acosta played a key role for East Bengal when they finished second in 2018-19 I-League. However, Acosta filed complaints against the club for not showing apathy to his situation and highlighted the salary concerns.

On the contrary, the Kochi-based club’s former player Matej Poplatnik also complained about unpaid salaries to FIFA.  FIFA has been very much flexible on these matters and players can lodge a complaint if they are not paid their wages. The two clubs are likely to work aggressively to get the ban uplifted in order to strengthen the squad in the summer.

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