ISL 2018-19: Kerala Blasters' Parent firm IQuest Enterprises Hires former Star Sports chief Nitin Kukreja
Kerala Blasters' parent firm IQuest Enterprises have hired former Star Sports India chief Nitin Kukreja as their Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Club CEO Varun Tripuraneni will continue to function in his role, the club added.
"We would like to confirm that Varun Tripuraneni continues as the CEO of Kerala Blasters Football Club (KBFC)," Blasters said in a statement.
"At the start of the second phase of ISL Season-5, he aims at finishing strong under the new Head Coach, Nelo Vingada.
"He will continue to work with Nitin Kukreja, Group CEO, IQuest Enterprises to lead the club. All other news in this regard is false and speculative in nature."
Varun's stint in Indian football started in 2014 when he was appointed as the President of Chennai Football Association in March. Following that, he was designated the post of Head of Football Development and Team Manager of Kerala Blasters for their inaugural season. Under his tutelage, the Yellow Brigade reached the finals of the tournament before losing to ATK.
Cross-town rivals, Chennaiyin FC, took note of his talent and appointed him as their Head of Operations from January 2015 to January 2016. This time, Chennaiyin FC not only reached the finals but also clinched the trophy under his guidance. Seeing his hard work and dedication, the club decided to promote him as their Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the next season. However, the defending champions finished second from the bottom this time.
Kerala Blasters welcomed him with open arms for their next season. He managed to bring in former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen and prolific players of the Red Devils, Dimitar Berbatov and Wes Brown. However, the club failed to reach the playoffs.
In the next and ongoing season, the club managed to win only once in thirteen matches. Kerala Blasters are known for their vociferous fans, who turn out in huge numbers for their home and away matches. However, this time, their turnout has been meagre.
Nitin Kukreja is a very reputed name in the sports management sector. He served as the advisor of Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi before serving as the Star Sports India head. Under his leadership, Star Sports managed to rope in Indian Super League and Pro Kabaddi League in their portfolio.
He resigned from the post of Star Sports India head on March 2017 and joined iQuest Enterprises as their Chief Executive Officer. The enterprise has interests across multiple businesses from infrastructure to sports. Nitin handled the sports section, which has investments at Bengaluru Blasters in the Premier Badminton League, Tamil Thalaivas in the Pro Kabaddi League, along with Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League.