News Article

Mohun Bagan feel left out as other heavyweights change track

Written by: Punit Tripathi

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There has been a lot of drama already but Khel Now throws a little light on what the 'Big Three' of Indian football might do for ISL 2017-18. . . 

Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), the organisers of the Indian Super League (ISL) has started inviting bids from interested parties to enrol and participate from the fourth edition to be staged in 2017-18.

Bids are invited from prospective team owners in respect of 10-cities i.e. Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cuttack, Durgapur, Hyderabad, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Ranchi, Siliguri and Thiruvananthapuram. It has been clarified that in the case of the city of Kolkata being awarded to the winning bidder, the respective team shall hold its home games outside Kolkata for the next two consecutive ISL seasons (2017/2018 and 2018/2019).

Reportedly, Kolkata heavyweights East Bengal have stepped feet on the peddle and are planning to bid for a spot in this season’s ISL. The Reds-and-Golds’ president and assistant secretary will travel to Bengaluru on Thursday to hold talks with Sekhar Rammurthy, the director of Heineken. East Bengal’s sponsor is Kingfisher, while their current owner is Heineken. According to reports, Heineken has asked Rammurthy to bid for ISL from Siliguri, Durgapur and Kolkata.

Interestingly, another Kolkata heavyweight Mohun Bagan have stayed away from this commotion, clearly stating that they will not be willing to pay the franchise fee of 15 crores. Now that East Bengal are planning to pay the money, it will be interesting to see whether the Mariners try the same route. According to sources, JSW Bengaluru have also submitted a bid already as Jindal Sports Private Limited.

These turns of events can be doomsday for Mohun Bagan’s resilience, as the Greens-and-Maroons may feel a little left out. Bengaluru FC, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are seen as the three most powerful clubs in Indian football and it will be interesting to see what track the one which has been left out chooses to tread.

East Bengal have always kept Siliguri as their second choice and the fans can be expected to flock the stands there. Mohun Bagan, sadly, have never had any such option and will have to contend with some other drastic option if they happen to take the route every other club has taken. It needs to be seen how these clubs make up the numbers on the financial front, as they’ve had their full budgets in the range of 18-20 crores and every ISL club has spent close to 60 crores a season.

Khel Now sources have revealed that a few weeks ago, the IMG-Reliance had called on Indian business group Tata group to partner East Bengal or Mohun Bagan and help them to bid for the ISL, but the company denied the offer and is planning to launch a team on its own from Jamshedpur or Ranchi, known to be their strongholds in the steel business sector. 

Published: Mon May 15, 2017 06:45 PM IST

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