Ozone FC seek I-League entry

With Bengaluru FC being inducted into the Indian Super League (ISL), another city club, Ozone FC, is looking make their way into the I-League for the coming season.

“Yes, it’s true. We are looking for a direct entry into the I-League for the next season. We are waiting to hear from the federation on the same,” a club source revealed.

Ozone had tried to enter the I-League — the premier domestic competition — a year ago, but due to Bengaluru FC’s three-year exclusivity over the city, they were denied the opportunity.

Ozone, a team owned by real estate players Ozone Group, was formed in 2015. Though I-League dreams didn’t feature in their immediate goals, the club had made it clear that it would like to be a part of the premier league in the coming years.

“We want to play in the I-League, but we won’t look for a direct entry. We will play the (BDFA) Super Division first and try making it to the premier league by winning the second division (I-League),” Ozone Group Chairman and Managing Director S Vasudevan had said at the launch of the club three years ago.

Though Ozone, a team managed by Dutchman Bert Zuurman, was an instant hit in the local city league, winning the title in their debut year, they endured a wretched time in the second division I-League, bowing out in first round. But the exposure helped two of their players, with Anto Xavier and Vignesh Gunashekar being called up to the U-23 national camp. The Indian team is preparing for the AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers to be played from July 19-23.

Meanwhile, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) confirmed that they have received interests from various teams across the country for I-League entry.

“Yes, we have received interests from a few teams. With Bengaluru FC joining the ISL, we are looking to add one team from Bengaluru as well,” Kushal Das, the General Secretary of the AIFF said.

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