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Indian Super League: Sourav Ganguly backed Kolkata franchise to unveil team on July 7

Sourav Ganguly has invested in Kolkata franchise in ISL © Getty Images
Sourav Ganguly has invested in Kolkata franchise in ISL © Getty Images

Kolkata: Jun 22, 2014

They were the first team to unveil Atletico de Kolkata among the eight Indian Super League (ISL) franchises, and now the newest city outfit is all set to announce the name of their marquee player and manager on July 7.

The team partners — Atletico Madrid — are finalising the deal with a top European player and manager to fill up the two top positions, while they are also in the process of roping in two of the seven international players before the June 30 deadline.

The team’s unveiling will take place in the presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and it is also learnt that top officials of the Spanish giants including coach Diego Simeone could be present on the occasion.

“I was supposed to go to the World Cup in Brazil but now we have to finalised our team unveiling on July 7,” stock broker Utsav Parekh, who is one of the five co-owners of Atletico de Kolkata, told PTI.

He, however, refused to divulge any name as the discussions were still on with top European footballers to meet the deadline for the IMG-Reliance backed tournament.

“The negotiations are on and we have shortlisted a few names from the European football. We’ll be able to finalise them by next week to meet the deadline. We’ll also unveil the team’s jersey on July 7,” he said.

The state government has already promised full support to the ISL franchise, which will have Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan as its home venue.

“We have met the Chief Minister and are getting full support. She will be there during the team unveiling,” Parekh said. Parekh is a part of a heavyweight consortium, including former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, Harshavardhan Neotia of Ambuja Neotia Group, Sanjeev Goenka of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group and La Liga champions Atletico Madrid that owns the Kolkata team in the upcoming Indian Super League. As per the ISL guidelines, each of the eight franchises will have one marquee player, seven international players and 14 domestic recruits, apart from a marquee manager.

The franchisees are free to bring their own marquee player and coach along with two international players and submit the names by June 30.If a franchise fails to bring the players or coach on their own, the IMG-Reliance will supply from its pool.Unlike Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 (T20), which has an auction system, the ISL will follow ‘Players Draft System’ adopting the Major League Soccer format as the remaining players will come from the IMG-Reliance pool.

“We’ll have about 60 foreign players and more than 112 domestic players in our pool for the Players Draft System,” an ISL official said.

The Draft System will have seven rounds for international players and 14 rounds for the domestic players.

“If a franchise has already hired two of the seven international players, then they would sit out from two rounds of the draft system. The procedure will be followed for the domestic players and marquee player/manager.”

Supported by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the tournament is co-promoted by the IMG-Reliance and Star India and is tentatively scheduled to be held from September 19 to November 30.

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