Kolkata club christened Atlético de Kolkata
The name of the Kolkata club of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) was unveiled at a press conference in the presence of its five co-owners. The team will be called Atlético de Kolkata, inspired by its tie-up with the La Liga champions and UEFA Champions League finalist Atlético de Madrid.
Madrid owner and CEO, Miguel Angel Gil Marin, was present on the occasion along with the other city-based co-owners including former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly and industrialists Harshvardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka and Utsav Parekh. The jersey was however not unveiled as the owners were still awaiting approval from the ISL.
Marin expressed his thanks for the trust placed in his club and the warm hospitality. “There are two reasons why Atlético decided to come to India and in particular to Kolkata. Atlético loves football. To expand our brand to Asian market, our club has decided to become a part of ISL as India has one of the largest markets in the world,” he said.
Local legend Ganguly, who is expected to be the face of the team, revealed how he grew up kicking a ball like many other kids in Kolkata and the efforts that he took to put this project together. “Last year when I was trying to find out ways of how to become a part of this, I contacted Harsh to know whether he was interested or not. Slowly I began contacting the others. It has been a long journey not just for us but also for the game of football,” he said.
Atlético de Madrid are expected to pay a visit and play a friendly against the Kolkata club in August. The Spanish club officials who flew down for the launch also inspected the Salt Lake Stadium and the Barasat Stadium as possible home ground options.