ISL 2017: ATK get new name after Atletico Madrid split

ATK are two-time ISL champions
ATK are two-time ISL champions

What's the story?

ISL champions Atletico de Kolkata are now to be known as ‘Amar Tomar Kolkata’ shortened to ATK albeit, following the end of their collaboration with Spanish giants Atletico Madrid.

The context

ATK owner Sanjiv Goenka made a formal announcement regarding the rechristening of the football club on Saturday.

Despite their formal alliance, the ISL franchise was not interested in continuing their partnership due to lack of investment on the Spanish team’s part and willing to cut off separately.

The heart of the matter

While the short name of the team has remained the same, the context is largely different after the discontinuation of the partnership. Amar Tomar Kolkata literally translates to ‘Mine and Your Kolkata’. The official statement made by Goenka for the media ahead of season four, also refers to the team as ATK only, stressing on the fact that the name remains the same, but now has an extended meaning to it.

Despite the name change, the team is going to continue with the red-and-white stripes, colours of the Atletico Madrid, as its own. This comes as a revelation, considering the franchise’s lack of interest in partnering with the club.

The colours were unveiled, along with the announcement itself on Saturday, the eve of the Indian Players’ Draft, at the team’s first media interaction.

Clarifying rumours, Goenka told the media that both the teams had come to an agreement regarding the discontinuation and any speculations regarding the same, moving forward, were unnecessary. He added further that he would be buying a 25 percent stake of ATK, making him the principal owner of the team, which is co-owned by former captain Sourav Ganguly, Harsh Neotia and Utsav Parekh.

Revealing further details, he said that Atletico Madrid had refrained from investing ‘a single penny’ into the two-time ISL champions which ultimately had been compensated for by him leading to his decision of buying their stakes altogether.

While Spanish involvement looks minimal for ATK, they seem to be moving forward to the league with an English essence having former Manchester United forward Teddy Sheringham as head coach and I-League winning coach Ashley Westwood as technical director. Reports suggest that their pre-season camp that is usually held in Spain will now be moved to England.

With their experience and expertise, Goenka seems confident that the team is ready to take on the challenge, despite additions of new teams in the league. No matter how strong his faith, he refuses to talk about competition with Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, who he considers big brothers (Dada) given their legendary experience.

What’s next?

The domestic players in the ATK squad are to be finalised in the draft tomorrow and will be announced systematically as protocol suggests, hopefully very soon.

Author’s take

This comes as big news just before the league is set to begin while fans excitedly await further news to see who the finalised players are for their favourite team.

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Edited by Abhijit Bharali
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