ISL 2017: Atletico Madrid confirm parting of ways with Atletico de Kolkata
Atletico de Kolkata will most likely undergo a rebranding before ISL-4.
What’s the story?
The three-year association of Atletico Madrid and Atletico de Kolkata has come to an end, Sportskeeda can confirm via close sources and local Bengal media. The Spanish giants oversaw their Indian investment become wildly successful in the short history of the Indian Super League (ISL), winning the title in two of the three completed seasons.
Last week, ATK’s majority shareholder Sanjiv Goenka confirmed that the Kolkata-based outfit will not continue their partnership with Atletico Madrid, citing reasons that the La Liga club didn’t complete their financial responsibilities towards the club. He also stated that the final details of the split needed to be ironed out.
Yesterday, Spanish publication Marca quoted the Atletico Madrid hierarchy about their separation from the ISL, pointing out that development is the chief agenda for the club and without development, there is no point staying with ATK.
"For us, India is a very important country and Calcutta a very dear city. But we either need to develop or leave," Atletico Madrid were quoted as saying.
ATK are the most successful ISL franchise, having won two titles in three seasons. The Kolkata-based outfit are aiming to win another ISL title in the forthcoming season as they set about changing the way they run.
With Atletico Madrid heading in a different direction, ATK will no longer have the Spanish-only connection they’ve had over the past three seasons. Antonio Habas and Jose Molina were appointed as head coaches based on inputs from Atletico Madrid, who also shared their colours, prestige and experience with the Indian club as part of their arrangement.
The heart of the matter
With the forthcoming ISL campaign set to be the biggest ever with more teams than before, ATK have appointed Ashley Westwood as their technical director while Teddy Sheringham is close to joining as the head coach. It is evident that ATK are changing the way they have worked in the past, signalling a departure from the Spanish model they inherited as part of the Atletico Madrid partnership.
It had been widely reported that the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City were keen to link up with ATK, but Goenka squashed those rumours by stressing that the defending ISL champions will head into ISL-4 as a self-dependent entity. That being said, ATK are open to a tie-up with a big European club in the future.
With ATK severing their ties with Atletico Madrid, it remains to be seen how they perform in ISL-4 with their on resources. With Atletico now walking away, it is also believed that ATK will be rebranded for 2017/18’s ISL since Atletico Madrid no longer hold a stake in ATK.