Kapil Dev's East Bengal connection dates back to June 22, 1992, when he signed for the club and six days later played for 27 minutes as a substitute striker, in an exhibition match versus Mohun Bagan. (Image credit: Twitter)
Through a social media campaign, a section of irate fans on Wednesday urged cricket legend Kapil Dev to boycott East Bengal's Foundation Day programme, alleging that the 100-year-old club engaged in "unethical and fraudulent" practices. India's first World Cup-winning captain is slated to visit the red-and-gold camp to receive its highest honour, Bharat Gaurav, on Thursday. The legendary all-rounder's East Bengal connection dates back to June 22, 1992, when he signed for the club and six days later played for 27 minutes as a substitute striker, in an exhibition match versus Mohun Bagan.
Rubbishing the social media trend, East Bengal's executive committee member Debabrata Sarkar, however, confirmed that Dev is slated to come as per original schedule. "There's no change in plan. He's coming to receive the Bharat Gaurav," Sarkar told PTI. On the eve of the Foundation Day celebrations, fans ran a campaign #KapilDevBoycottEB, citing East Bengal's contract rows with players Jobby Justin and Abinash Ruidas. They also highlighted the possible pullout of their Bengaluru-based title sponsors Quess Corp.
"Good @QuessConnect pull out. How long could they support such an unethical club-like @EastBengalFc ruing #IndianFootball #KapildevBoycottEB," wrote a verified Twitter user who describes himself to be freelance cricket writer.
Another verified Twitter user, who describes himself as a senior manager of a social media group, cited the example of the club's recent contract row with Jobby Justin, and tweeted: "My heart feels for the footballer who had to go through such unethical practices by a 100 yrs club @eastbengalfc @therealkapildev #KapilDevBoycottEB."
"Okay so now East Bengal is dragging @therealKapilDev into this dirt. They have no shame. @eastbengalfc grow some consciousness before thinking of calling the legend. #KapilDevBoycottEB," wrote another verified user.
"We request #KapilDevBoycottEB it's been history for @eastbengalfc for fraudulent activities. @therealkapildev," tweeted another user, attaching the news story of Abinash Ruidas being released from the club after a bitter contract row in 2017.