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UB warns Bagan on finances

M Chhaya in Kolkata | May 22, 2003 15:06 IST

Former National Football League champions Mohun Bagan have halted its player recruitment drive for the next season after receiving a stinker from its official sponsor, United Breweries, on over-spending.

"We are going slow on recruiting players because of a letter from UB," club secretary Anjan Mitra told reporters in Kolkata.

The letter seeks an explanation from club officials on why the budget was exceeded last season, and warns against overspending this time.

Last season Bagan spent in excess of nearly Rs two million to hire players.

The club's managers could face trying times next season as UB, which also sponsors Bagan's arch rivals East Bengal, who won the National Football League this year, has decided to limit its funding. The sponsor appears unhappy with the "lack of professionalism" in the running of the both clubs.

Both Bagan and East Bengal have run-up payment dues of players and the UB Group is unwilling to increase the Rs.15 million grant it gave the two sides this season.

Moreover, the liquor company is unwilling to release a portion of the prize-money from last season. Previously, it used to allow the clubs 20 per cent of the amount it won.

The UB Group is particularly unhappy with Mohun Bagan because of its failure to register McDowell's name with the team.

East Bengal sources said United Breweries had already sounded the teams about its unwillingness to spend more than what it has this season.

"In that case it will be difficult to raise a good team. Already, we have defaulted on payment of players this year."

Payment restriction to the clubs also appears to be because of UB's belief that its business returns from sponsorship hasn't been encouraging even in terms of advertising mileage.

However, it appears that East Bengal hasn't been sent a copy of the latest letter Bagan was served with.

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