EAST BENGAL have confirmed the success of their application to join the Indian Super League next season.
The Red and Gold Brigade who celebrated their centenary last month, will be the 11th side in the league.
The team took to Twitter with the news.
The club wrote: “We know you have been waiting, and we have been waiting too.
“We are happy to announce that The East Bengal Club is playing in the #ISL.
“We thank all for the constant support and confidence that you rendered on us.
“We are all getting ready to beat the battle ground.”
The move will come as a blow to the I-League, with Mohun Bagan also joining the ISL through their merger with ATK, the league has lost its two best supported teams.
Nita Ambani, the founder and chairperson of Football Sports Development Ltd announced the success of the club’s application.
Mrs Ambani said in a press release: “It is such a happy and proud moment for ISL as we welcome East Bengal FC and their millions of fans into the League.
“The inclusion of both legacy clubs, i.e. East Bengal and Mohun Bagan (now ATK Mohun Bagan) opens limitless possibilities for Indian football, especially for talent development in the state.
“West Bengal has made an immense contribution to the growth of the beautiful game in India.
“ISL’s growing footprint in the state and across India, is yet another step towards our mission of building a competitive and robust football ecosystem in the country.”
The I-League next season will be played entirely across venues in Kolkatta, but East Bengal will not have the privilege of playing in their home city with the ISL set to be played in venues across Goa.
It has not yet been confirmed which ground will host East Bengal’s home matches.
At the beginning of September, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das confined there would be promotion and relegation between the ISL and I-League by 2024-25 as the steps had been “agreed by all stakeholders” as per the Times of India.
The 2022 and 2023 winners of the I-League will be entitled to spots in the ISL.
Currently, the ISL is among a select group of a few men’s top tier leagues without relegation, the others being the A-League in Australia, the J1 League which has skipped relegation this year due to coronavirus in Japan, the Philippine Football League, Canadian Premier League, Major League Soccer, the New Zealand Football Championship, Campionato Sammarinese di Calcio and the Gibraltar National League.
Women’s top-flight leagues in Australia, The Philippines, and the United States do not currently have relegation either.