New Delhi, Apr.14: Cricket stars Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of teams in a new India football league that is set to start this year.
The Indian Super League, featuring foreign and Indian talent in teams based in eight cities, is due to start in mid-September and run until the end of November, Sport24 reports.
Organized by the All India Football Federation, the league is being backed by India’s Reliance Industries and sports management giant IMG.
Former international stars such as Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Hernan Crespo, Fredrik Ljungberg, Dwight Yorke and Louis Saha are among those who have reportedly signed up to play in the league.
Tendulkar, who retired last year as the world’s leading batsman in both Test and one-day cricket, has joined hands with Hyderabad-based investor Prasad Potluri to co-own the Kochi city franchise.
Tendulkar said that the Indian Super League (ISL) presents a great opportunity to develop a platform for youngsters to learn and enhance their talent to develop into outstanding players.
On the other hand, Ganguly will team up with La Liga leaders Atletico and three Indian businessmen to co-own the team of his home city of Kolkata, an All India Football Federation statement said.
Other team heads include Bollywood stars Salman Khan (Pune franchise), Ranbir Kapoor (Mumbai) and John Abraham (Guwahati), the statement said without elaborating on the financial obligations for each owner.
The remaining three teams will be owned by media house Sun group (Bangalore), TV cable distribution company DEN Networks (Delhi) and three businessmen who will co-own Goa, the statement said.
The event will be aired on Star TV.
It is already facing fierce opposition from India’s top clubs, which are yet to confirm they will release players for the tournament.
India, ranked a lowly 145th in the world and 25th in Asia, has seen a surge in football’s popularity due to live television coverage of matches played around the globe. (ANI)