Nita Ambani: ATK Mohun Bagan holds international potential

Nita Ambani, founder and chairperson, Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), welcomed legendary Indian football club Mohun Bagan into the Indian Super League (ISL) family last Friday.

The 130-year-old football club last week completed the formalities of merging with another Kolkata-based club, the three-time ISL champions ATK FC, thus scripting a new story in Indian football named "ATK Mohun Bagan".

"We are delighted on the merger of ATK and Mohun Bagan, the two powerhouses of Indian football. I wholeheartedly welcome Mohun Bagan, one of India's most renowned clubs," said Nita.

The FSDL chairperson believes ATK Mohun Bagan could be a force to reckon with in Asian Football Confederation (AFC) competitions.

Said Nita: "The new entity holds vast potential for not just West Bengal or Indian football but internationally too, as we endeavour to establish Indian clubs as strong players in AFC competitions."

She believes ATK Mohun Bagan will lead the way towards a more competitive platform for young Indian players.

"Talent can only be realised when budding youngsters get the opportunity and exposure to play competitive football at the highest levels. I am confident that this partnership will benefit football in our country and help us realise our dream of making India a football superpower," said Nita.

The ATK Mohun Bagan board on Friday decided to retain the green and maroon jersey, which has been synonymous with the legacy of Mohun Bagan.

It will also have the Mohun Bagan boat logo.

ATK Mohun Bagan announced plans to build a world-class football academy in West Bengal and refurbish the Mohun Bagan facility in Kolkata so that ISL and AFC home games can be held there.

"From everybody's point of view, the coming together of ATK and Mohun Bagan is a very positive move. For the ISL, it can only be a good thing," said former England defender Russell Osman, who is now an ISL pundit.

"It's a shame that this season has been delayed. A lot of people wanted to see ATK Mohun Bagan. Every home game would have been a full house. I can only see this new club being a very, very good thing for Indian football."

FC Goa will take part in the AFC Champions League group stages, while ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC will play in the AFC Cup group stages and play-offs respectively.

"I think all the stakeholders deserve to give themselves a pat on the back," said Osman.

"Nita Ambani and Martin Bain, they are all trying to push the business forward as much as they can. And I think they have got more people on their side than against them now.

"The Champions League position for FC Goa and ATK Mohun Bagan getting to play in the AFC Cup is recognition that things are being done right."

Indo-Asian News Service


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