ISL-I-League Merger: Kolkata Giants Holds The Key
IMG Reliance are keen to restructure Indian football by drafting in the big boys of the I-League (read Bengaluru FC, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan) in the Indian Super League as was reported by Feverpitch.in a few days back. However, there are a plethora of problems that needs to be taken care of before the merger to be seen as a possibility-the primary one being the money involved. Unless the I-League clubs can arrange funds within a few months, the merger would seem like a distant dream, atleast for this season.
Although there have been whispers of multi-national companies willing to invest in the big 3 I-League clubs but nothing is concrete as of now. According to a report in HT, an Indian multi-national company and an international liquor outlet has already shown interest, but it seems like they want to take their time and be calculative in their measures.
With a large section of the footballing circuit unhappy with the biased attitude towards the three I-League clubs and the AIFF’s eagerness to hand over control to the IMG R, it will be interesting to see if the crisis can be solved anytime soon.
Should Mohun Bagan or Bengaluru FC may it to the knockout stages of the AFC Cup, they will need to play a new set of fixtures from August and that will cause further headaches related to the merger as complications on player retention would crop up, putting the proposed draft system of IMG R in muddy waters.
Nevertheless, the merger would be totally dependent upon the Kolkata Giants' ability to attract big sponsors, as Bengaluru will most likely be bailed out by JSW Group.