Kolkata giants East Bengal will now have to officially inform the club's status and change of ownership structure to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to clear AFC's club licensing criteria after having separated from Quess Corp.
Their Bengaluru-based investors came on board in July 2018 after which the red-and-gold brigade came to be known as Quess East Bengal FC Pvt Ltd.
Quess Corp acquired a majority stake of 70 per cent.
Now it remains to be seen whether Quess East Bengal FC would be diluted and the footballing rights be transferred back to East Bengal or the company will hold on to their shares in the hope of recovering losses.
But for acquiring the AFC Club licensing for the 2020-21 season, East Bengal has to submit a valid declaration to the AIFF, outlining the ownership.
"The letter has been sent to the (Quess) chairman. We are following it up. Our respective solicitor firms are looking into it," a club official told PTI.
The report was collated by IANS as well.
"We have asked them to officially tell us about the change in ownership. This is in line with the (AFC club) licensing requirements," a top official told IANS.
East Bengal has had a sour relationship with Quess since the company came on board.
The legal criteria for a club to apply for the AFC license says that the license applicant will have to submit a legally valid declaration, clearly stating the ownership structure and control mechanism of the club.
East Bengal finished runners-up in the 2018-19 I-League, but their performance dipped in the 2019-2020 season, finishing second best to arch-rivals Mohun Bagan, with their relation also straining with Quess.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, foreign players of East Bengal were stuck in Kolkata for an extended period before most of them flew back home.
Three foreigners — midfielder Kassim Aidara (France), defender Johnny Acosta (Costa Rica) and a member of the support staff, Spaniard Carlos Nodar — are still in Kolkata and have been asked to vacate their accommodation.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)