I-LEAGUE club East Bengal have confirmed they have made an application to join the Indian Super League.
East Bengal were second in the I-League behind arch-rivals Mohun Bagan when the league was canceled and Mohun Bagan were awarded the title.
The team’s greatest spell of dominance in the former National Football League came in the early 2000s with the side’s 3 domestic titles coming in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
The club posted on Twitter, an image that read: “We are extremely happy to announce that the consortium of Shree Cement Ltd and East Bengal Club have placed the bid to participate in this years ISL.”
East Bengal would be the third side with history in the I-League to join the ISL.
Bengaluru were originally founded in 2013 as an I-League club, winning the league in their debut season.
The side would represent India in the AFC Cup for four consecutive years and joined the I-League in 2017.
The Blues won their first ISL title in 2018-19.
Mohun Bagan were formed in 1889 and are one of the oldest teams in India.
For the 2020 season, they merged with ATK, to form ATK Mohun Bagan with 2020 to be the first season for the side.
The Kolkata Derby between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal dates back to and August 8 1921 clash in the Coochbehar Cup.
In 1997, the two sides took part in a Federation Cup semi-final game at the Salt Lake Stadium.
The attendance is believed to have been around 131,000, a record for a sports event in India.
Mohun Bagan’s support tends to hail from the native population of Kolkata and the state of West Bengal, whereas East Bengal’s support tends to hail from migrants from the eastern section of Bengal, though this is not always the case.
The sides are believed to have met 369 teams with 129 wins for Mohun Bagan, 119 for East Bengal and 121 draws.
Former India captain Baichung Bhatia, scored 19 goals in the derby, making him the top goalscorer in the clash.
Mr Bhatia, who also spent time playing in England for Bury, had six spells for East Bengal (1993-1995, 1997-1999, 2003-2005, 2005-2006, 2009-2011 and 2015) and two spells for Mohun Bagan (2002-2003, 2006-2009).
13 of his goals came for East Bengal and six came for Mohun Bagan.
Mr Bhutia was the first player to score a hat-trick in the derby, a feat only matched once, by Chidi Endeh in 2009, who scored four times in Mohan Bagan’s 5-3 I-League victory.
Mr Bhutia’s hat-trick came in the Federation Cup semi-final as East Bengal won 4-1.