Jindal has big plans for Bangalore

Having watched newcomers South United Football Club fluff their lines in their bid to enter the I-League, the City folks had a reason to enjoy on Monday when the All India Football Federation cleared JSW Group’s bid to compete in the nation’s premier football competition.

During its Emergency Committee meeting in New Delhi on Monday, the AIFF ratified the decision of the Bid Evaluation Committee to provisionally clear Bangalore’s JSW and Mumbai Tigers to play in the 2013-14 edition of the I-League.

“We believe these are exciting times for Indian football and we are happy to be entering the league at this stage,” said team owner Sajjan Jindal on Tuesday. “We would like to thank the AIFF for awarding us the Bangalore franchise. The popularity of football is growing rapidly in India and we are excited at the opportunity to do our bit to enhance the standards of the Beautiful Game. In keeping with JSW philosophy of building a strong India, we hope to build a strong and successful football franchise.”

Jindal said they would use this opportunity to improve the standard of Bangalore football by setting up an academy which will be run by renowned coaches.

JSW CEO Mustafa Ghouse, former tennis international, said work on building the squad is yet to begin. “It’s hardly been 24 hours since we heard of our approval. We have a lot of plans in mind and we need to go ahead and implement them.

“When we sent in our bid we had several players on our mind. But since we were not sure of our status we didn’t rope them in. We need to get back to them and if they’ve not inked any deals we may rope them in. We are also yet to finalise on the coaching staff. Things will take shape in the next month or so and we will get things in order by the time the league commences in August. The time is too short but that’s the challenge ahead of us.”

Apart from approving the bids of JSW and Mumbai Tigers, the AIFF also announced a major change in the format of the I-League.

Scheduled to kick-off in August, the league will be staged in the Conference Model -- the Eastern Conference and Western Conference. The top four teams from each Conference will advance to the final round.

Each I-League club would be allowed to register a maximum of 30 players out of which a maximum five would be required to be under-23 players. Minimum two under-23 players need to be in the final 18 and at least one on the final playing XI.

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