Prospective I-League club Kerala Evergreen FC in disarray amid mismanagement and infighting
The I-League, officially known as the Hero I-League, is an Indian professional league for men’s association football clubs. The competition was formed in 2007, in an effort to professionalize the sport of football in India. Since the league’s inception, five clubs have been crowned champions, and the competition gets tougher by the day, with newer teams coming into the scenario.
Among the hopefuls for an entry into next season's I-League was Kerala Evergreen Football Club (KEFC). The club is co-owned by Liwing Sports & Business Services Pvt. Ltd. and Singapore based MySports Management Pvt. Ltd., with a majority of the shares with Liwing Sports. KEFC was officially launched on 18 July 2017, in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, by the CEO of MySports and the promoter of KEFC, Jiri Cerny. The announcement was made in the presence of two of the directors of Liwing Sports.
It was agreed by both the owning parties, that once the legal formalities and RBI formalities, required for the FDI were over, Liwing Sports would give a majority of its shares to MySports Management, to facilitate the shaping of an international class football club in India.
However, it turns out that Kerala Evergreen FC is in for some turbulence, as Liwing Sports has restrained Cerny and his MySports Pvt. Ltd. from using the brands, Liwing and Kerala Evergreen FC, due to a variety of legal reasons.
Allegedly, Cerny has failed to submit the legal documents related to him and his business entity in Singapore which were demanded by RBI for FDI in India. Cerny has also been blamed by Liwing Sports to have cheated the club by illegally copying the logo of an Ireland based football club, Bray Wanderers FC. If this holds true, then Cerny is in a clear violation of Intellectual Property Act.
Apart from this, Liwing Sports claims to have received many information regarding complaints registered against Cerny in various parts of the globe. Earlier, Cerny had mentioned that he had quite a few plans and initiatives for bettering Kerala and Indian football with the help of KEFC. He wanted KEFC to climb the Indian football hierarchy over a period of time. He had also emphasized on the priority to work with the local talent as much as possible.
The recent developments, however, have proven to be a disadvantage for Kerala Evergreen FC, and everyone associated with it, including Cerny. At a time when the Malappuram-based Gokulam FC is receiving kudos for its entry into the I-League, mismanagement has seen another top-flight hopeful from the football-crazy state of Kerala spiraling into obscurity.