Former cricket captains Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly will own teams in the much-awaited Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament. Tendulkar, along with PVP Ventures bagged the Kochi franchise, while Ganguly successfully bid for Kolkata, which he will jointly own with Harshavardhan Neotia, La Liga giants Atletico Madrid, Sanjeev Goenka and Utsav Parekh.
“I will always remain a sportsman at heart who is keen to positively impact the sporting fabric of the nation. The Indian Super League presents a great opportunity to develop a platform for the youngsters to learn and enhance their talent to develop into outstanding players,” Kochi co-owner Tendulkar said.
“It has been an interesting experience interacting with the young, passionate team at PVP Ventures led by Prasad Potluri. Based on the various insights shared by the team, the opportunity of the Kochi club seemed like a compelling and challenging proposition. With the Kochi club, we will strive to ‘score our goals’ and play a part in developing the game of football across the country,” he added.
Sun TV, which also owns Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad, got the Bangalore franchise. Sameer Manchanda led Den Network will own Delhi while Videocon’s Venugopal Dhoot, Dattaraj Salgaocar and Shrinivas V. Dempo will co-own Goa. Bollywood star John Abraham and I-League team Shillong Lajong bagged the Guwahati franchise. Ranbir Kapoor and Bimal Parekh made a successful bid for Mumbai and Salman Khan together with Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan of the Wadhawan Group will own Pune.
The ISL is managed by IMG-Reliance, commercial partners of the All India Football Federation (AIFF). The eight cities that made the cut are Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Pune, Goa, and Guwahati. The two-month tournament will be played in September-October.
Some of the yesteryear stars like Hernan Crespo, Robbie Fowler, Thierry Henry and Dwight Yorke may also be seen in action in the ISL.