Kolkata: Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Atletico de Kolkata’s co-owner Sourav Ganguly on Thursday remained unfazed by speculation about the team’s support base should traditional city giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan become part of ISL.
Rumours are rife about the city-based football powerhouses being inducted into ISL from next year. Reportedly, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and its commercial and marketing partners Football Sports Development (FSDL) have mooted a plan to include them in ISL.
Such a move could lessen the support base of ATK significantly as fans of the two established football clubs constitute the majority of its mass connect.
“Let that happen first, we will see then. I am only thinking about my club. I am ATK,” Ganguly said.
“In the last semi-final we had around 75,000 people. See when Brazil play Argentina the stadium is automatically full. I am sure when Mohun Bagan take on ATK or East Bengal play us, there will be a lot of crowd in the stands.”
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has reportedly shown interest in sponsoring Mohun Bagan.
Quizzed about the rumours, Ganguly said: “It will be good for the club. Anything that he [Shah Rukh] gets associated with is always the best.”
The former India cricket captain went coy when asked about environmentalists questioning ATK’s decision to host ISL matches at the Rabindra Sarobar at night.
Environmentalists have been saying that hosting matches at night under floodlights at the stadium can cause ecological hazards.
A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed at the eastern zone bench of the National Green Tribunal by environmental activist Subhas Datta saying it was “a better option to hold the football matches during day hours”.
He has pleaded with the bench that the games should not be organised at night without proper environmental monitoring.