Following in the footsteps of close competitors Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, the 113-year-old Mohammedan Sporting Club of Kolkata is planning to become a company and has appointed a UK-based firm to locate a sponsor.
The club gained promotion this season to the first division of the National Football League.
"We have applied before the Registrar of Companies a few days ago for getting registration in the name of Mohammedan Sporting Club India Limited," the club's general secretary, Sultan Ahmad, said.
After getting registration, Ahmad said, the club plans to issue shares to members and raise funds through an Initial Public Offering and also get listed at stock exchanges.
"All these initiatives are aimed at bringing fresh funds for the club's future programmes," Ahmad added.
He said the club has appointed London-based Football Marketing and Management International as its agent, which will look for a sponsor.
Mohammedan Sporting have been unsuccessful in roping in a sponsor though its Kolkata competitorsMohun Bagan, East Bengal and even Tollygunge Agragami have roped in the United Breweries Group and others.
"FMMis on the job since their appointment about three months back and are in talks with prospective sponsors.
"Forthe first time, we have qualified for the National Football League first division. This year we will play with the top teams of the country," Ahmad said.
Set up in 1891,Mohammedan Sporting is among the oldest football clubs. There was a time when it was rated among the country's top clubs.
Itsfortunes started slipping in the early nineties and dipped when it was relegated to the Second Division of the premier league, not only due to dissension among its senior members, but also due to the inability to rope in top players.
"Wehave plans to set up a football academy in West Bengal and we will also set up a stadium," the general secretary said.
Ahmadsaid the club has selected a plot in Howrah to set up a stadium. Once the corporatisation process is through, he added, efforts would be intensified to set up an academy as well in the stadium.