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IPL 2023

Explained: KKR v Mohun Bagan controversy – Were fans denied entry for wearing football jerseys? | IPL 2023

Kolkata Knight Riders versus Mohun Bagan
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

On the night of May 20, there was a commotion during Kolkata Knight Riders’ IPL 2023 home match against the Lucknow Super Giants at the Eden Gardens.

Mohun Bagan, one of Asia’s oldest football clubs, recently changed their name to Mohun Bagan Super Giant, keeping in tune with the Lucknow-based IPL franchise: both are owned by Sanjiv Goenka.

For their last league match, against Kolkata at the Eden Gardens, Lucknow took the field in Mohun Bagan maroon and green, presumably to woo a substantial chunk of the city’s vast football fanbase.


The fans of Mohun Bagan – which dates back to 1889 – brought out a procession from the gate of their nearby club to express their gratitude towards Goenka. A group of 55, donning club jerseys, were stopped by the ground security at Gate No.13.

The security had objected to the logo of Mohun Bagan, which was prominent on the shirts and scarves of the supporters. They had to wear the jerseys inside out in order to enter the venue.

On May 21, Mohun Bagan General Secretary Debashis Dutta issued a statement, according to which the club “condemns the decision of KKR management for disrespecting the National Club of India and hurting the sentiments of our supporters”.

On May 22, the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise issued a counter-statement, where they explained why they stopped fans from entering the venue: “We were told that some ambush marketing was attempted by some vested interests, which as per IPL policy was promptly stopped by the IPL league Anti-Ambush Marketing team.”

It is not very clear whether the size of the group of fans had prompted the security to act, but some Mohun Bagan fans who were not part of the procession were allowed to enter the venue.

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