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Indian Super League: Tata, JSW on board; ISL now 10-team affair

PANAJI: Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal will have to wait for at least another two years to feature in the Indian Super League (ISL) as the organizers announced its expansion to 10 cities with the inclusion of Bengaluru and Jamshedpur.

The next edition of the ISL will be played across 10 cities with Bengaluru FC, through Jindal South West (JSW) Group, and Tata Steel Ltd, winning the bids. Both of India’s largest conglomerates were the only two companies to submit their bids and it came as no surprise that they won the bids to join eight other franchises this season.

The inclusion of two new franchises came through the ‘Invitation To Bid’ tender process floated by FSDL last month. A panel along with consulting firm Ernst and Young evaluated the bids to present its report on Monday to the panel, in the presence of All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das.

Seven companies had picked up the invitation to bid. Among the seven were Mohun Bagan and East Bengal but both Kolkata giants jointly decided not to submit their bids, largely because of their aversion to the franchise fee, starting from Rs 12 crore.

According to sources, Bengaluru FC – who have won two I-League and Federation Cup titles in the last four years – have agreed to pay a franchise fee of Rs 18 crore per year, while Tata Steel will pay the organizers an annual franchise fee of Rs 15 crore. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, should they wish to play in the ISL, will have to wait till 2019 when the ISL will be expanded for the second time. Both teams can also opt to play from Kolkata itself and not bot her about existing franchise Atletico de Kolkata’s sole right to play in the city for the first five years.

“The company agrees that in respect of the first five seasons which occur during the term, it shall not grant to any other club the right to play its home matches at any stadium within a radius of 50km of the stadium at which, in the first season, the club stages all or a majority of its home league matches,” states the agreement between a franchise and the organizers.

Bengaluru FC will be delighted that they are now part of the ISL, having tried unsuccessfully to join the bandwagon in the first year itself.”We are glad that our bid to be part of the ISL has been accepted. A lot of time and thought has gone into our decision of wanting to be part of the ISL. The biggest factor has been the interest of the long-term future of Indian football. A longer league is the right road ahead,” said Parth Jindal, CEO, Bengaluru FC.

Tata Steel said it was a momentous occasion for the company, which has always been a pioneer in the development of sports in the country, particularly football. “We are excited to have won the bid for our hometown Jamshedpur and will provide the best of facilities for football,” said Sunil Bhaskaran, vice-president, Corporate Services, Tata Steel and Chairman TFA.

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Indian Super League: Tata, JSW on board; ISL now 10-team affair


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