The RPSG Group, which owns and runs Kolkata-based Indian Super League (ISL) franchise ATK, on Thursday acquired majority shareholding in Mohun Bagan Football Club (India) Private Limited, a statement from the ISL franchise said.
Mohun Bagan will now play as ATK-Mohun Bagan in next year’s ISL. The acquired football club will have brand names of ATK and Mohun Bagan. The RPSG Group will become 80 per cent majority shareholder while Mohun Bagan Football Club (India) Private Limited will own the remaining 20 per cent stake.
“The name will be ATK-Mohun Bagan. We haven’t chalked out other details yet like jersey and logo but we will in due course of time,” a top ATK official told IANS.
The merged club will come into existence from June 1, 2020 and will compete in the Indian Super League season (ISL) 2020-21, along with other important competitions in the All India Football Federation (AIFF) calendar.
“This move will see the two football clubs coming together into a new merged identity to compete in the rapidly growing professional Indian football landscape,” the statement read. The amalgamation of the two powerhouses from West Bengal holds immense potential to take forward the rich legacy of the state into the new footballing era of the 21st century.
“Kolkata — popularly known as the mecca of Indian football — has ruled the sport for decades. The deal further promises to deliver a new and exciting element of football to the Indian fans,” the statement added.
Welcoming Mohun Bagan into the group, Sanjiv Goenka, Chairman, RPSG Group, said: “RPSG Group, which has a 200-year-old legacy, is humbled and honoured to welcome Mohun Bagan with folded hands and open arms to the RPSG family.”
“RPSG Group is known for acquiring and growing legacies such as the 120-year-old CESC, 150-year-old Spencer’s Retail, and the 100-year-old Saregama. Personally, it’s an emotional reunion for me as my father late R.P. Goenka was a member of Mohun Bagan,” he added.
Commenting on the union and the opportunities it presents, Swapan Sadhan Bose, Chairman, Mohun Bagan Football Club (India), said: “As much as we want the romance of the Maroon and Green jersey and it’s 130-year-old tradition to continue, there comes a time when romance almost invariably requires a partner named practicality. To usher into the new era of football, you need bigger investments and a corporate force to take it forward. This is undoubtedly a harsh and the bigger truth.”
“In this context, I am very thankful to India’s one of the most well-known industrialists and our Kolkata’s very own Sanjiv Goenka for his investment through RPSG. Their vision on Indian football aligns with our philosophy and our combined forces will surely take the club to bigger and greater heights. In this respect, it is a red-letter day in the history of this iconic institution,” he added.
Bose thanked Goenka saying: “I thank Sanjiv Goenka profusely for partnering our dream. His father, the late R.P. Goenka was a good friend of mine. Apart from his legendary acumen as a businessman, RPG had a huge fondness for Mohun Bagan and was one of our members. Whenever we met, business took a back seat and discussions on the club moved in the forefront.”
It was also announced that the members of Mohun Bagan Athletic Club will continue to get discounted tickets for all home matches.