Everything you need to know about the ATK-Mohun Bagan merger | ISL 2019-20
After weeks of rumours and semi-confirmed news, it is now final! Indian football is in for a treat with the much-awaited merger of two of the powerhouses from Kolkata, Mohun Bagan and ATK FC.
RPSG Group, which owns and manages ATK FC will acquire 80% shares in the merged club, and Mohun Bagan Football Club (India) Private Limited will have the remaining 20%.
The merged club will come into existence from June 1, 2020, to compete in the Indian Super League season 2020-21, and other competitions under AIFF. As per the information from Mr Tutu Bose. the general sectary of Mohun Bagan Athletic Club, ATK Mohun Bagan FC will replace ATK FC from the 7th season of ISL.
Dr. Sanjiv Goenka, Chairman of RPSG Group welcomed Mohun Bagan, the club with a rich history of 130 years, into the group, saying,
“RPSG Group which has a 200-year-old legacy is humbled and honoured to welcome Mohun Bagan with folded hands and open arms to the RPSG family. RPSG Group is known for acquiring and growing legacies such as the 120-year-old CESC, 150-year-old Spencer’s Retail, and the 100-year-old Saregama. Personally, it’s an emotional reunion for me as my father Late Shri R P Goenka was a member of Mohun Bagan.”
Indian football has seen several incidents, where clubs were promoted or relegated. The I-league club Bengaluru FC joined the Indian Super League and clinched the title in their second season. However, a merger of two well-established clubs, that too at this top-level, is a first. Mohun Bagan comes into this merger with the upper hand too, with their legacy, and their 2-1 victory over ATK in their last meeting in Durand Cup 2019.
Prior the announcement, officials from both the clubs declined to comment on this merger, however, talks on share distribution, the number of board of directors, jersey colour and even the name of the merged club etc. were finalised after the consent from Football Sports Development Limited, the promoters of ISL. With this amalgamation, a new and exciting era of football is going to start for the Indian fans.
In Kolkata, the Mecca of Indian Football, the two city rivals, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have their fair share of fans. All they lacked was in the economic backing and sponsor-power of the corporate-backed ISL teams, which became evident during the transfer market. The franchise-based counterparts are miles ahead in terms of infrastructure, coaching facilities and recruiting skilled players. The younger league clubs are yet to develop an avid follower base, who connect to the clubs at a cordial level. AIFF planned in their roadmap to make ISL the top-tier league of the country over ISL, hence the Mohun Bagan and East Bengal fans wanted their clubs to participate in the top-tier league too.
To participate in ISL, the clubs are supposed to pay a franchise fee of ₹15 crore. In this regard, East Bengal went a bit ahead with their tie-up with Quess Corp. As the partnership is on a decline, Quess and East Bengal are set to part ways from next season. Initial talks were going on between ATK and East Bengal, but there was a fall-out. After that, the Mohun Bagan-ATK talks began for collaboration and soon came to fruition. The official announcement is supposed came before the much-coveted Kolkata Derby in I-league on 19th January. This will surely provide a huge boost for the fans and players alike.
Mohun Bagan is sitting at the top of I-league now with 13 points from 6 matches. ATK, the two time ISL champion, is also a title contender in ISL this season after 12 matches. As these two teams, who are both in respectable positions, have decided for the much-awaited merger, they will surely come as a threat to all the other clubs in the upcoming top-tier league of India.Published 16 Jan 2020, 17:57 IST