City football giants East Bengal on Thursday said they have decided to serve the people who are struggling during the COVID-19 crisis in the state of West Bengal as part of their centenary year celebrations.
The global pandemic coupled with West Bengal being hit by Cyclone Amphan has poured cold water on East Bengal's grand centenary celebrations.
In a first at-the-venue news conference hosted by any sports organisation in the state in more than three months since the lockdown was imposed on March 25, the red and gold club unveiled masks and hand-sanitisers bearing its logo.
The club said a big portion of these will be donated to the state sports department and the municipal corporation of the city for distribution free of cost.
"The club had planned its centenary celebration keeping in mind the emotions of its millions of members and supporters. But with the pandemic and the devastating cyclone affecting the livelihood of lakhs of people in the state, we have decided to serve the people whose lives have been impacted by the two incidents," said the general secretary of East Bengal, Kalyan Majumdar.
"We are still raising funds through different sources and will continue to help the affected people," said club official Debabrata Sarkar.
West Bengal Sports Minister, Aroop Biswas, was also present at the function.
East Bengal have been going through rough times with investors Quess Corp, who had a 70 per cent stake in the club, severing ties with them.
They had a three-year deal but the Bengaluru-based investors exited on May 31.
The heritage club is also staring at an uncertain future as it hopes to secure a berth in the country's top league -- Indian Super League.