Indian football: Instances when the Kolkata derby got abandoned

Goal takes a look at the some instances where Kolkata derbies which got abandoned even before the ball rolled…

The last Kolkata derby of the I-League era had to be postponed amidst the Coronavirus outbreak.

The match was scheduled to happen on March 15 at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata. It was initially decided that would happen behind closed doors but later the All India Football Federation (AIFF) decided to postpone the match along with the remaining games of the I-League.

Two Kolkata derbies have been played in the ongoing 2019-20 season. The first derby in the Calcutta Football League (CFL) resulted in a goalless draw and the Mariners clinched the second in the I-League 2-1 in January.

Here, we take a look at several instances when Kolkata derbies which did not take place due to various reasons.

1939 Calcutta Football League – East Bengal walkover

Mohun Bagan had won the Calcutta Football League (CFL) thereby ending Mohammedan Sporting’s streak of winning the league for five consecutive years. The Mariners also became the second Indian club to win the league after the Black Panthers.

Mohun Bagan had won the first derby 2-1 thanks to strikes from Satu Chowdhury and Bimal Mukherjee. Laxminarayan scored a consolation goal for the Red and Golds. In the reverse fixture, East Bengal never turned up for the game as Mohun Bagan were declared the winners.

1954 Calcutta Football League – East Bengal walkover

Indian football legend Subirmal ‘Chuni’ Goswami’s debut season at Mohun Bagan saw the Mariners clinch the CFL title. They had an exciting transfer window before the season which saw Mohun Bagan sign P Venkatesh from their rivals and thereby breaking the famous ‘Panch Pandavas’ partnership of East Bengal.

Incidentally, Venkatesh had scored in the first phase of the derby along with Runu Guha Thakurta and Samar ‘Badru’ Banerjee as Bagan registered a convincing 3-1 win over East Bengal. The Red and Golds refused to play the reverse derby.

1968 Calcutta Football League – East Bengal walkover

In this season, the CFL saw a rule change in the tournament format. The first stage of the league hosted all the top division clubs and the top four teams from that stage would qualify for the Super League where the teams would play in a round-robin format.

East Bengal gave Mohun Bagan a walkover during the first stage of the league but faced them in the Super League where Mohun Bagan won 1-0 thanks to a strike from Sitesh Das. Mohun Bagan eventually won the league but due to an injunction from the Kolkata High Court, the league was declared null and void.

1972 IFA Shield – Mohun Bagan walkover

The two arch-rivals met in the final of the prestigious IFA Shield. Mohun Bagan had taken the lead thanks to a strike from Sukalyan Ghosh Dastidar. Unfortunately, the match could not be continued due to heavy rainfall. The Mariners, though, wanted the match to go on.

The Indian Football Association (IFA) had decided on a second date where the replay of the final could take place but the Mariners decided not to field their team in the replay match as apparently on that day they would have missed the services of two important players in Sukalyan Ghosh Dastidat and Sankar Banerjee as the duo had office commitments. East Bengal won the trophy after getting a walkover from their rivals.

1974 Calcutta Football League – Mohun Bagan walkover

East Bengal got another walkover two years later in the CFL. This time the walkover meant that East Bengal won their fifth consecutive CFL title and they would go onto win another one in 1975 to extend the record to six.

1985 Calcutta Football League – Mohun Bagan walkover

The first phase of the derby ended in a 1-1 draw. Jamshid Nassiri had initially given East Bengal the lead but a world class strike from Mohun Bagan’s Krishna Gopa Chudhury restored parity in the match.

Unfortunately, Mohun Bagan had refused to turn up for the second phase of the derby as East Bengal were adjudged the winner of the match. The Red and Golds had also clinched the CFL title.

2016 Calcutta Football League – Mohun Bagan walkover

The last time a Kolkata derby was abandoned due to walkover was in 2016. East Bengal were off to a flying start in the CFL under the tutelage of British coach Trevor James Morgan. The match was supposed to take place on September 7 but Mohun Bagan had informed the IFA beforehand that they would not field their team in the derby. Mohun Bagan’s main concern was that the match was being played at the Kalyani where they alleged their representatives and fans did not have enough seats allotted.

The IFA offered another one thousand tickets to Mohun Bagan to make up for the lack of seating arrangement, which the Mariners claimed to be an “arbitrary” and “whimsical” decision on the IFA’s part and rejected the offer.

The IFA went ahead with the fixture and East Bengal players had even taken the field. The match officials too were present on the ground and waited for 30 minutes as per the rule and after that the Red and Golds were given the three points. East Bengal had won their record 38th and seventh consecutive CFL title.