In a big blow to the players and officials, I-League side East Bengal have terminated all the existing contracts, citing 'Force Majeure' in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Left with no option, the players have now knocked the doors of the Football Players Association of India which has assured full support and referred the matter to the world body for players (FIFPro).
Confirming this, East Bengal's top Spanish winger Jaime Santos Colado said the entire team disagrees with the decision.
"This is true, they have terminated our contracts citing COVID-19 pandemic (Force Majeure). The entire team disagrees with that decision, we hope to reach an agreement soon. We are working on that," the 24-year-old, who has two more years' contract left, told PTI.
Currently, several foreign players of East Bengal are stuck in India because of the lockdown.
"We are trying to go home, but no club or embassy is helping us at the moment," a desperate Colado added.
Coming in support of the players, FPAI wrote on their Twitter handle: "No club can prematurely terminate contracts with players because of the pandemic. There has to be a mutual understanding and the player must agree to it.
"We are in touch with all the players and will take up this issue on a priority basis with global stakeholders @FIFPro."
The big blow came on Saturday when East Bengal's title sponsors Quess Corp, who have already announced their dissociation with the club from June onwards, informed the players and officials about the decision by an e-mail.
Founder of Quess Corp Ajit Isaac and the company's CEO Sanjit Sen were not available for comment.
East Bengal, who are already in a team-building mode, are in talks with prospective investors in their bid to follow arch-rivals, Mohun Bagan, into the Indian Super League from next season.
The red-and-gold outfit had a patchy I-League campaign that saw them parting ways with coach Alejandro Menendez after losing the derby to eventual champions Mohun Bagan.
They were at second spot (with 23 points) when the remaining I-League matches were cancelled due to the coronavirus-forced nation-wide lockdown.
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