IMG Worldwide, Reliance Industries, STAR India and the Indian Federation, AIFF seek to write a new chapter in creating the footballing culture with the onset of Indian Super League.
IMG Reliance and Star India promoted Indian Super League, under the aegis of All India Football Federation, identified and awarded eight ‘League Partners’ across the country ahead of the proposed September-November 2014 inaugural season. 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. Indian Super League’s proposal for ‘League Partners’ received an overwhelming response from the business, sports and Bollywood community, to own a team from the nine proposed cities in the contention. Four of the final eight cities – Delhi, Kochi, Guwahati and Bangalore – will find itself in the mainstream football map of the country, which is traditionally being dominated by Kolkata, Goa, Pune and Mumbai, through the high-profile professional Indian Super League. The management announced the winning bid which boast a good mix of corporates and celebrities - in Sun Group for Bengaluru; Sameer Manchanda led Den Network for Delhi; Venugopal Dhoot (Videocon), Dattaraj Salgaocar and Shrinivas V. Dempo for Goa; John Abraham & Shillong Lajong for Guwahati; Sachin Tendulkar & PVP Ventures for Kochi; Sourav Ganguly, Harshavardhan Neotia, Atletico Madrid, Sanjeev Goenka, Utsav Parekh for Kolkata, Bollywood’s Ranbir Kapoor and Bimal Parekh for Mumbai and Salman Khan together with Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan of the Wadhawan Group for Pune. “It is with great pride that I welcome the eight League Partners to the Indian Super League. We want to unlock the unbound aspirational energy of our youth through grassroots and community development programs,” said Nita M. Ambani. “Together, we will strive to build a vibrant ecosystem that will provide impetus to football in India. As Mentor of the League, I commit myself to development of football as a major sport for the youth of India. India is uniquely placed as the youngest nation on the planet in terms of demography and poised to emerge as an economic superpower, having all the potential and aspiration to revel its sporting prowess. "Today's announcement is the culmination of several years of hard work and strategic planning," said Michael Dolan, Chairman and Chief Executive of IMG and Chairman of IMG Reliance. "We are enormously pleased at the level of interest the creation of the Indian Super League has generated. We believe the League signals the beginning of a new era in the development of football in India and, in the future, will be the source of great pride for the people of India." "Inspiring our nation to excel is a priority and comes naturally to us at Star India. With our expertise in marketing and production of sports content, our task is cut out to etch football in the sports culture of India," said Uday Shankar, CEO of Star India. "The nation has been awaiting its second sport for far too long. And we're delighted to collaborate with esteemed partners in the business and sports world to make that happen!" Indian Super League represents transformational progress for Indian football, progress that will be good for players, fans and the League Partners. It’s an opportunity to be part of one of the most exciting new properties in football anywhere in the world and Indian Federation, the AIFF has extended all its help for the success of the League. Praful Patel, President, AIFF said, “No period in India’s long and proud history in football is more exciting than today. This day will go down in memory as a special day for Indian football as eight high profile celebrities & corporates are being introduced into the sport through Indian Super League. With IMG Reliance & Star providing the perfect foundation, the League has become an unstoppable force which would change Indian football. “I hope the grassroots obligations of the franchises gives a huge push to the development of the game. Along with the world class infrastructure that is being created for the Under 17 FIFA World Cup, and AIFF’s expression of interest to host 2015 and 2016 FIFA Club World Cup, Indian football is definitely turning a new leaf in its history.”