Bhaichung signs one-year contract with East BengalJune 23rd, 2009 - 12:13 am ICT by IANS
Kolkata, June 22 (IANS) Soccer star Bhaichung Bhutia Monday inked a year-long contract with East Bengal, days after being slapped a six-month suspension by his previous club Mohun Bagan.
Bhutia’s move came even as his appeal against the suspension was pending with West Bengal’s soccer governing body Indian Football Association (IFA), and without Bagan giving him a release order.
The national team captain said if he could not turn up for East Bengal due to the tight schedule of the Indian team, the contract will automatically spill over into the next year.
Hundreds of East Bengal officials, members and supporters were present to welcome Bhutia, who had started his journey in the Kolkata league donning the club’s red and yellow jersey.
Recalling his first few years as an East Bengal player, Bhutia said “I want to retire from this club”.
There was an atmosphere of festivity at the East Bengal tent as Bhutia was garlanded and offered bouquets by frenzied club supporters.
Bhutia had left the club in bitterness three years ago, protesting against a top official terming the contracted players “labourers” of East Bengal.
Bhutia conceded that he had some misunderstandings with the club in 2006, but claimed he never said he would not return to East Bengal.
Showering praise on the East Bengal management, he said the stark difference between the attitudes of the officials of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan had become evident in the way they dealt with the controversy centering around him. “East Bengal have shown they really care for the players.”
Bhutia is scheduled to join the national camp to be held in Dubai from June 25.
Taking umbrage over Bhaichung skipping some practice session and not turning out in an exhibition tie, the Bagan management had issued him a show cause. Later, the player was suspended as Bagan said they were not happy with his reply.
In a press conference last week Bhutia described the Bagan officials as “dictatorial”, “publicity hungry” and “egoist”, and vowed never to play for the club so long the present management was in office.
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Tags: bhaichung bhutia, bitterness, club supporters, east bengal, exhibition tie, festivity, first few years, football association, governing body, indian football, kolkata, misunderstandings, mohun bagan, practice session, previous club, soccer star, team captain, tight schedule, umbrage, west bengal