Earlier in September 2016, reports emerged that Shahrukh Khan was likely to enter the footballing world by acquiring stakes in an Indian Super League (ISL) franchise or an I-league club in an attempt to ride the recent craze for the sport. With the ISL, I-League merger inching ever closer to reality, sources indicates that King Khan could be buying out 30 % of top I-league club Mohun Bagan by ISL season 5.
IMG-Reliance Star is currently in talks with I-league for the inclusion of Bengaluru FC, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. Last year, it was also touted that Shahrukh was in talks with East Bengal for a potential association.
According to a senior official within Mohun Bagan, a meeting took place between representatives of Red Chillies Entertainment and club officials last week. However, there is no confirmation at what stage these talks are. He said, “I know for a fact that they had met each other, and talks were initiated, but there has been no decision taken. Mohun Bagan is a club of heritage and no decision will be taken in haste to damage a tradition which has crossed centuries.
“The clubs have also met ISL officials to discuss the merger, but there is no confirmation of a date. But, from what I heard talks have been positive for Mohun Bagan.”
Earlier today, senior club official Debanta Sarkar confirmed to regional media that talks have resumed with ISL to reach a common ground for immediate participation. According to ScoopWhoop News, a 12th team owned by MS Dhoni from Ranchi could be thrown into the fray, but Sportskeeda is yet to receive any information about this development.
If East Bengal does come on board, then they will reportedly represent Siliguri and not Kolkata to even the regional distribution.
Our source close to Bagan said, “We are in advanced stage talks with ISL, but with Red Chillies it has just started. I cannot comment further on this matter, but we are looking for a positive response soon.”
Shahrukh already owns Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders and is the tourism ambassador for West Bengal. Another ISL franchise would only strengthen the Bollywood superstar’s affiliation with Bengal. Another meeting is scheduled between both parties early next month to discuss the financial structuring of the club.