MUMBAI: A joint venture by the The Indian Football Association, West Bengal, and sports management company Celebrity Management Group has resulted in the introduction of India’s first full-fledged franchise based football. The IFA and CMG jointly announced the launch of the tendering process to award six franchisees for the proposed Premier League Soccer (PLS) in Kolkata, on Friday. Kolkata, Barasat, Howrah, Haldia, Durgapur and Siliguri have been selected as the six franchise cities that will go through the tendering process for a duration of 10 years.
This is CMG’s second major initiative, however, it puts into question the effectiveness of the contract IMG-Reliance signed with the All India Football Federation in 2010 giving the joint venture marketing control over all AIFF sanctioned football activity in the country. Last year, CMG organised the first Fifa sanctioned football friendly ever played in India, held in Kolkata, that featured Lionel Messi’s Argentinian side against the Venezuelan national team. IMG Reliance had clearly raised its objections with the AIFF. Since the IFA is an AIFF Affiliate, the former is likely to get the AIFF’s sanction, but it will be interesting to see how the situation pans out between all parties involved in the matter.
In the PLS, the annual franchise fee is different for different locations. The fee for Kolkata and Siliguri stands out from the rest, at Rs 10 million per year, while Barasat is priced at Rs 8 million per year. Howrah, Haldia and Durgapur have a fee of Rs 7 million per year.
Bidding companies should have a net worth of $5 million or an annual turnover (combined) of $10 million during each of the last three years so as to bid for a PLS franchisee. The organisers have made it mandatory for the bidders to submit a tender for at least three locations. The organisers have set a limit on how much a team may spend per season. For the inaugural season, the expense cap is $2.5 million (maximum) and $2 million (minimum).
For the potential bidders, one can buy the bidding documents from the CMG headquarters located at New Alipore or from the IFA Office. The last date for submission of the completed bid with the required documents is on 22nd January 2012 by 2:00 pm and the bids will be opened from 4:00 pm, two hours later. .
Making his presence felt at the occasion, IFA secretary UK Ganguly said, “This is a first of its kind initiative for football with an objective to reach out to the fans across India through television broadcast. The mission of PLS is to foster the development of Bengal’s sporting culture and to assist in the healthy mental and physical growth of Bengali people. The goal for PLS is to develop India’s sporting culture, create new audience and raise the bar for Indian Football.”
The CMG has selected six famous, world-class athletes which include the likes of Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Juan Pablo Sorin (Argentina), Jay Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Robert Pires (France), Robbie Fowler (England) and Hernan Crespo (Argentina) as iconic players for the first PLS season which is scheduled to take place on 25th February.
The company has also managed to rope in a group of world class coaches for the franchises, such as Peter Reid (England), John Barnes (England), Colin Todd (England), Samson Siasia (Nigeria), Marco Etcheverry (Bolivia), Teitur Thodarson (Iceland), Fernando Couto (Portugal) and Milos Rus (Slovakia).Published 16 Jan 2012, 13:46 IST