It'll be Atletico de Kolkata in Indian Super League

The Kolkata franchise of the Indian Super League has been christened Atletico de Kolkata, taking a cue from their Spanish co-owners and UEFA Champions League finalists Atletico de Madrid.

Owner and CEO of Atletico Madrid, Miguel Angel Gil Marin, along with his city based co-owners former India captain Sourav Ganguly, industrialists Harsh Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka and Utsav Parekh unveiled the team but said they were yet to finalise the jersey as it had to get the approval of the ISL.

There’s also a proposal to get the Atletico Madrid squad to play a friendly match here once the city team is formed.

“We are also looking for a pre-season training in Madrid for the Kolkata franchise,” Neotia said. 

Also unveiling the name of the consortium as the Kolkata Games and Sports Private Limited, the five partners pledged to take Indian football to the next level.

“Atletico breathes football, lives around football. It’s a great idea to expand our brand and reach a new market. India and China are huge markets. Atletico also collaborates in different countries through Alteitco de Madrid foundation. We will try to support many kids who want to develop football.

“We are trying two different ways, one through academy and another side through the franchise and play professional football,” Miguel said handing over an official La Liga football with autographs of the team members.

Ganguly said, “Our club will try and bring together the best talent to form a team with the driving thought of ‘playing to win’. Kolkata has been central to football in our country and our objective is to ensure that we regain the position.

Asked why they chose to invest in a country whose ranking hovers around 150 and FIFA had termed them a ‘sleeping giant’, Aguillo said: “You have a massive population and if you combine that with passion and discipline, you are bound to have results. We have seen that in many countries.”

Though there are several question marks about the team formation and players, Kolkata officials said they were hopeful of finding a solution.

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