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Rediff.com  » Sports » ISL: Tendulkar, Ganguly, Salman win bids, kick-start football innings

ISL: Tendulkar, Ganguly, Salman win bids, kick-start football innings

Last updated on: April 14, 2014 08:08 IST

ISL: Tendulkar, Ganguly win bids, kick-start football innings

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Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were among the host of high-profile winning bidders, as the organisers of the much-anticipated Indian Super League unveiled the eight franchises for the football extravaganza in Mumbai on Sunday.

Tendulkar, along with PVP Ventures, bagged the Kochi franchise, which also owns a team in the Indian Badminton League.

The batting icon, who retired last year from international cricket after an illustrious 24-year career, will be associated with the Kochi team as brand ambassador.

The league, which was to be held last year but deferred to later this year, will feature 22 players in each team, with 10 foreign players, including a marquee player.

Each franchise will also include eight domestic players and four local, from the catchment area in the under-23 category.

IMG-Reliance, the commercial and marketing partner of the All India Football Federation, has already signed 39 domestic players and 20 from AIFF developmental side Pailan Arrows.

The bid winners for the eight franchises of the league, which is scheduled between September-November, was announced in Mumbai by organisers after evaluation of the proposals by a seven-member panel.

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Image: Sachin Tendulkar


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Ganguly partnered Spanish club Atletico Madrid among others for the winning bid

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Former India captain Ganguly, also an ardent football fan, tied up with four entities to get the winning bid for Kolkata, one of the most sought-after franchises.

One of the four entities is La Liga club Atletico Madrid, the third most supported club in Spain. They are now atop the league standings. Their superb show against mighty Barcelona earlier this week saw them through to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

Among the others is Harshavardhan Neotia, head of Ambuja Neotia Group, a Kolkata-based real estate company with recent forays into hospitality, healthcare and education.

Sanjiv Goenka of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group has interest in Power business and a network of modern retail chains across the country and Utsav Parekh, a Non-Executive-Non-Independent chairman at SMIFS Capital Markets Ltd, are the others in the quartet.

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Image: Sourav Ganguly
Photographs: Ritam Banerjee/Getty Images

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Salman wins Pune franchise; Ranbir gets Mumbai

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The Mumbai franchise went to Bollywood star and FC Barcelona loyal Ranbir Kapoor and Bimal Parekh, while Salman Khan, another tinsel town biggie, bagged the Pune franchise along with Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan of the Wadhawan Group.

Actor, John Abraham, an avid footballer himself, teamed up with Shillong Lajong, the I-League club from the northeast, to bag the Guwahati-based franchise.

The remaining three teams went to the Sameer Manchanda-led Den Network for Delhi, Sun Group got Bengaluru and the consortium of Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon, Dattaraj Salgaocar and Shrinivas V Dempo won the Goa bid.

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Image: Salman Khan
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

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Former Arsenal stars Ljungberg, Pires set to play tournament

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Organised by IMG-Reliance in association with Star India, the league has the backing of the AIFF, and is set to see big names as icon players, like former France international Robert Pires and ex-Sweden international Fredrik Ljungberg.

Sources said the organisers received positive response from more than 30 interested parties to its 'Invitation To Bid' tender notice, which closed on March 27.

It is learnt that around 18 to 20 bidders had put money on the ISL either through forming a consortium or individually. This is the first time that a franchise property in sports in India has elicited such a response from the business as well as sports and Bollywood community.

IMG-Reliance had entered into a multi-million dollar deal with Star India to become equity partners in a joint venture for the next 10 years to run the league. Star India, in which media baron Rupert Murdoch has a majority stake, has acquired broadcast and sponsorship rights for the league.

Nine cities were identified as franchises up for bidding and Chennai lost out.

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Image: Fredrik Ljungberg
Photographs: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images for UEFA

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'Delhi, Kochi, Guwahati and Bangalore will find themselves in the mainstream football map of the country'

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International advisory firm Ernst & Young had the mandate of drawing up and validating the bid process. Each bidder was subject to strict eligibility norms and was required to submit the bids, as prescribed under the 'Invitation to Bid' document.

The bids were evaluated by the jury panel in the presence of Ernst & Young representatives.

"IMG Reliance and Star India promoted Indian Super League, under the aegis of AIFF, have today reached a crucial junction on its path to rediscover Indian football, as it identifies and awards eight 'League Partners' across the country ahead of the proposed September-November 2014 inaugural season," IMG-Reliance said.

"Termed as an unrivalled footballing event, the Indian Super League being planned under the Football Sports Development Pvt Ltd, aims to ignite a revolution in the sport and ultimately enable Indian football to thrive and perform at the highest level on the international stage.

"Four of the final eight cities --  Delhi, Kochi, Guwahati and Bangalore -- will find themselves in the mainstream football map of the country, which has traditionally been dominated by Kolkata, Goa, Pune and Mumbai, through the high-profile professional Indian Super League," it said.

PVP Ventures, headed by Prasad V Potluri, is one of the largest investors of the country in media and entertainment industry and is listed on the BSE and the NSE.

PVP was one of the bidders for the Hyderabad team in the Indian Premier League in 2012. 


Image: Actor John Abraham bagged the Guwahati franchise
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com
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