New Delhi, September 04: Indian Super League organisers on Friday invited bids for a new team for the upcoming season, a development which is expected to clear the decks for East Bengal joining the cash-rich football event.
East Bengal on Wednesday got an investor in Kolkata-based Shree Cement and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who played a big role in the negotiations, made a strong pitch for the century-old club's inclusion in the ISL.
The new season is scheduled to start in November.
"FSDL invites bids from interested parties for the award of one (01) additional team to enrol and participate in the Hero Indian Super League, from its seventh edition to be staged in 2020-2021," the tender notice issued by the organisers said.
"Bids are invited in respect of 06 cities - Delhi, Ludhiana, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Siliguri and Bhopal. Under and subject to the Invitation to Bid (ITB), one (01) new winning bidder and accordingly one new team shall be enrolled and awarded the right to participate in the ISL from the seventh edition onwards," the FSDL said.
East Bengal and Shree Cement officials told PTI that the club will buy the bid documents.
"As of now, we are successful in achieving the criteria needed to play ISL. Now we will apply and it's up to the tournament committee to decide which team will be included," East Bengal assistant secretary Shanti Ranjan Dasgupta said.
"It's the start of a new era. Professionalism is the need of the hour to survive. Amateur structure won't work. It's a new beginning for us after completing 100 years."
Shree Cement owner Hari Mohan Bangur said: "We hope to participate but we don't know, after all it's a tender process. We can say right now is that one more team will play. We will fill in the tender and then see."
The electronic copies of the ITB and other documents shall be made available to the interested parties up to 5pm IST on September 7 and September 8 respectively, via email, on payment of a non-refundable and non-adjustable document fee of Rs 5 lakh.
"All bidding parties will need to fulfil eligibility criteria and other requirements specified in the ITB. The soft copies of pre-qualification documents and technical proposal must be submitted to FSDL by 5pm, 14th September, followed by a delivery to FSDL in physical form by 6pm, 17th September."
With the addition of a new franchise, this year's ISL, which will be played in three venues in Goa amid strict health and safety measures will have 11 teams.
Banerjee had said on Wednesday that the coming in of Shree Cement as investor will be "self-sufficient" for East Bengal to complete the formalities of playing in the ISL this year.
She said she has requested the All India Football Federation to do the needful so that East Bengal can play in the ISL this season.
"All problems are now solved. The fans will be happy that East Bengal will play in the ISL. Of course, they have to complete the formalities. I have requested everyone including the AIFF. I hope there will be no further obstacles," she had said.