Dancing skipper still in India limbo

CHENNAI - India captain Bhaichung Bhutia's one-year deal with East Bengal has been put on hold as his public war-of-words with present employers Mohun Bagan continues to rumble on, domestic media reported on Tuesday.

The Kolkata-based club slapped a six-month suspension on the talismanic striker at the start of the month, saying he ignored his training duties to appear in a reality television dance show.

Bhutia signed for East Bengal on Monday but the move to his former club is still awaiting clearance from the regional association, who said the player needed to resolve the issues with Mohun Bagan before he could leave, the Telegraph reported.

"I want to play for them (East Bengal) from the very first match of the season," Bhutia told the paper.

However, Bhutia's three-year contract with Mohun Bagan runs for another year and the suspension prevents him from moving to another club.

"I may or may not play this year but for the rest of my career I will be an East Bengal player," he added.

"I know there are some officials at Bagan who want to finish my career... But I will fight it out. I know that good will prevail over evil."

Bhutia is the face of Indian football and is seen as the key to the country's hopes of a good showing at the 2011 Asian Cup.