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Delhi United becomes India's first 'People's Club'; to be open to investment

Written by: Punit Tripathi

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The capital-based club has opened up for public investment, a new initiative in Indian football…

Delhi United FC has become the first Indian club to have opened up its ownership shares to the general public and fans. Dividing their shares amongst Foundation and Gold members, the club based out of Delhi is the only club in the country to be on the way to achieving the tag of ‘People’s Club in India’. A foundation member will be allotted 100 shares, out of a total of 15000 shares.

A one-time registration fee for every founding member is Rs 10,000, which directly increases the value of the club to 15 lakh at the time of beginning with the project. Every member, that will be 150 in total, will be paying a thousand rupees every month at the beginning, which sees a regular influx of capital into the club.

In Lieu of the same, Delhi United will gift its foundation members a memento and a DU jersey. Any active foundation member who introduces five other active foundation members to the club with be promoted as Premium member. The Premium member will have special rights to contest for all elected posts in the club.

A Premium member introducing 10 other active foundation members will be promoted as Gold member and will be appointed as an Academy Director in his selected zone to run the youth development program of the club. A Gold member acting as Academy Director will be awarded 25 percent of profit revenue from that Academy centre.

After Khel Now got to know about this new initiative, we went to B. S. Mehra, Chairman of Delhi United for his opinion on a lot of questions. In a free-wheeling chat with us, Mehra revealed his plans as to what he sees as the future for the club.

“Delhi United, as a club,” said the Chairman, “has been progressing ever since its inception. As far as the current season goes, we’re leading the table currently in Group A of the I-league second division.”

 

 

B S Mehra has a lot of new initiatives for Delhi United (in yellow) 

This move has been lapped up by investors. Mehra informed Khel Now that 90+ slots have already been filled up by incoming foundation members and the club expects the door to be closed soon. In such a scenario, there’s real confusion in the centralization of power and thus, decision-making can be a tough-call.

Mehra cleared the air over any such doubts, stating, “The club will be controlled by the management committee selected by the Founder Members and Club Members out of Gold Members. It will keep them on their toes for delivering and also make them accountable in the truest sense.”

East Bengal and Mohun Bagan over the years and Bengaluru FC since recently have been known to have huge fans bases and lapping up such an idea wouldn’t have been difficult for them. But this kind of plan here in Delhi, which has never even been known for its love for the game sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Mehra surely doesn’t feel that way.

He adds, “I can see people (in Delhi) sending their kids to academies investing Rs 3000-6000 per month these days, which was not the case 4-5 years back. Time has changed and so has the need of the hour…We want to be trendsetters in the city, not followers.”

With such a move, the Gorkha Heroes right-back feels Delhi United can be the biggest club in the Indian footballing sphere. From a fan’s point-of-view, we asked Mehra what does he feel about the cost of the shares. Does he think the prices are a little too high? Mehra says, “There are two kinds of membership, one for founder members and the other for club members. The young fans can be a part of it for less than Rs. 100 per month with voting rights. The fans will be getting offers/cash-backs/schemes worth Rs 200 every month, so that they don’t feel dejected.”

After covering almost every aspect, we asked for his thoughts on the future for Delhi United. There was a shimmer of hope as well as positivity as Mehra spoke, “We aim to have our own stadium, training facilities, residential academy school and good tie-up with sponsors. Apart from this, we want to play at the highest level in the country.”

For everything to work and fall in place, there’s always a key idea to a story. This, also had, one in Mehra’s mind. He signed off, saying, “If we’re able to create a sense of belonging amongst the football fans in Delhi for our club, we’re sure to be successful.”

 

Published: Wed Feb 08, 2017 02:22 PM IST

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