I-League 2017: Gokulam FC to be rechristened as 'Gokulam Kerala FC'
What's the story?
Changing a club's name seems to be the flavour of November for Indian football as Gokulam FC have changed their name ahead of the new I-League season. The Kerala side will now be known as "Gokulam Kerala FC" in their debut season in Indian top flight football.
This decision comes just a day after the news broke that ATK decided to change their tag line to "Amra Team Kolkata".
In case you didn't know...
Gokulam Kerala FC, as we should call them now, recently became only the second team from the state of Kerala to play in the I-League. The Malabar-based side beat the likes of Ozone FC and a consortium from Rajasthan to be granted I-League status in September. Gokulam Kerala FC are owned by Sree Gokulam business group and will become the second side after Viva Kerala (in 2011-12) to play in the I-League.
The heart of the matter
AIFF, India's governing football body had suggested the owners of Gokulam FC to change their name before the start of the season and find a name which resonated with the football loving people of Malabar.
The team even ran a competition where people were asked to give their suggestions for a new name. Malabar FC looked to be the popular choice for social media but the board of Gokulam Kerala FC seemed to have gone the other way.
Though the date of the Kerala based side's debut in the I-League is yet to be known, a new name is expected to increase the hype around the football club. In order to build a status of a new I-League team, the team from Malabar is exempted from relegation for the next two seasons and will also be given 10-15 crores INR by AIFF in order to develop football in the region as well as to build a residential football academy.
The region of Malappuram is considered to be a football crazy part of Kerala. Keeping a name closer to the city or the region might have been more useful for the management to give an identity to the fans instead of keeping the club's name based on the company which owns it.