On Saturday, a section of Mohun Bagan fans alleged that they were not allowed to enter the iconic Eden Gardens because their t-shirts and scarves had Mohun Bagan’s logo on them.
Members of a fan club, Mariners Arena, took out a procession from the Maidan Tent area to the stadium before the start of the IPL 2023 match between hosts Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and visitors Lucknow Super Giants (LSG). After a rally, where slogans supporting Bagan were raised, the supporters tried to enter the ground with their valid tickets but were denied entry.
The incident comes against the backdrop of LSG’s announcement that they would wear a special jersey in their final league game of the IPL. The jersey is inspired by Mohun Bagan, the iconic Indian football club owned by the RPSG Group, which owns LSG.
— Mohun Bagan Hub (@MohunBaganHub) May 20, 2023
LSG’s decision to wear the Mohun Bagan jersey was welcomed by the club’s fans. “This is a great gesture by LSG,” said one fan. “It shows that they respect the history and legacy of Mohun Bagan,” said another.
However, when several Bagan supporters tried to enter the arena wearing the football club’s jersey, they were allegedly stopped by KKR authorities rather than the police.
According to one fan, Kaustav Debnath, the supporters were blocked at gates 9 and 13 of the Eden Gardens and told that the Mohun Bagan logo was prohibited inside the stadia. Even Mohun Bagan flags and scarves were allegedly not allowed.
The fans were finally allowed after some of them changed their jersey while others wore it inside out.
In a statement on social media, the fan page slammed KKR and wrote: “Shameful behaviour from our own city-based franchisee. We took out a procession from the Mohun Bagan tent up to Eden Gardens with flex, tifo, scarves and t-shirts supporting Bagan. Police authorities did not resist, but personnel appointed by KKR did stop us. Nothing related to Mohun Bagan was allowed. After much argument, we could not reach a reasonable outcome. So we had no option but to keep everything outside and then enter. After this, Mohun Bagan supporters will think twice before supporting KKR”.
Budging to fans’ longstanding demands, Mohun Bagan’s stakeholders announced last week that they would remove the prefix ATK from the name of the 133-year football club. The club, which the RP Sanjiv Goenka Group principally owns, is now known as Mohun Bagan SuperGiant, a pattern which follows the conglomerate’s naming philosophy of their sports teams. RPSG’s previous IPL team was called Pune Supergiants.