Sports

KKR vs LSG: Mohun Bagan, East Bengal fans banned from wearing respective jerseys

By Anirban Sinha Roy: The controversy unfolded on the evening of May 20, 2023, during the KKR vs LSG match at Eden Gardens when a group of Mohun Bagan supporters arrived at the home ground of KKR in Kolkata.

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These supporters, wearing Mohun Bagan jerseys, were allegedly stopped by certain individuals present at the stadium. A video also went viral, showing an East Bengal supporter wearing the red and gold jersey being asked to change.

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Following the incident, Mohun Bagan issued a press statement on Sunday, expressing their outrage. Speaking to India Today, Mohun Bagan Secretary Debasis Dutta condemned the act.

"This is a shameful act. The sports fraternity was insulted by this. How can anyone be stopped from entering the stadium after having valid tickets? What the person wears is their choice. I have seen World Cups all over the world while wearing the Mohun Bagan jersey. This is a shameful act by whoever has done it," said Dutta.

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Mohun Bagan's General Secretary further criticized KKR, saying, "They are unaware of the history of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. This KKR team has no connection with Bengal. There are no players from Bengal in this team. They are playing with the emotions of sports lovers."

The incident also affected East Bengal fans, as shown in the video. Debabrata Sarkar, a prominent member of East Bengal Club, expressed his outrage, stating, "This is unacceptable. How dare they try to cover the East Bengal logo? These people are ignorant of the football history of India and our historic clubs in Kolkata. I will approach the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) to seek answers."

On Monday, KKR released a statement clarifying their position, emphasizing that the management was not involved in the incident.

"There are some misleading reports that are floating around that KKR management had stopped some fans from entering Eden Gardens during the KKR vs LSG IPL game on May 20. For the record, KKR management has nothing to do with crowd management at the stadium. We understand some ambush marketing was attempted by some vested interests, which as per IPL league policy was promptly stopped by the IPL league Anti-Ambush Marketing team," read the statement.

"KKR is grateful for the great relationship with all its fans in Kolkata and for making every game at Eden Gardens a full house! It has among the largest fan bases of any franchise and would never disrespect anyone," the statement added.

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While BCCI sources acknowledged the presence of ambush marketing in the IPL, they clarified that it had nothing to do with people's attire or jerseys.

According to CAB sources, they only prepare the grounds and hand them over to the franchises, while the police handle the entries of individuals. The incident at the stadium left football enthusiasts from both historical clubs of Kolkata and India disappointed, as emotions from the football world collided with the cricket ground.

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The Open Magazine of India by Artmotion Network (https://magazine.armotion.com/)

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