Debashis Dutta: ATK-Mohun Bagan will take Indian football to the next level

The RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group (RPSG) acquiring 80% stakes in Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan football club marked a tectonic shift in Indian football with promises for a bigger and brighter future. It was also announced that two-time Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) champions ATK FC, a club owned and run by RPSG, and Bagan will be coming together to form a new merged identity in the near future. Underlining the impact of the move, Mohun Bagan Assistant General Secretary Mr. Srinjoy Bose and Finance Secretary, Mr. Debashis Dutta lauded the coming together of the two powerhouses as a boon to the footballing ecosystem of the country.

Both Dutta and Bose, who were in the stands at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday to watch ATK beat FC Goa in an enthralling contest and go back to the top of the Hero ISL 2019-20 standings, joined indiansuperleague.com for a brief interview and went on to illustrate how the partnership will not just to help both parties involved but also Indian football as a whole.

Dutta touched on the sheer magnitude the amalgamation symbolizes and noted, "Mohan Bagan is a giant in Indian football for well over 130 years. ATK have also become a powerhouse in Indian football through the Hero ISL. In the short span of six years, they've gone on to win the Hero ISL two times. The main thing is the professionalism with which the RPSG group has run the club and the way their management has taken things up. So, we thought that if this powerhouse of Mohun Bagan and this group come together, we can take Indian football to the next level."

"The next generation wants to see our club as one of the most important clubs in Asia, not only India. So, these two giants coming together, will not only take the club football to the next level but also Indian football," he added.

Illustrating how the arrangement would help serve the national team, with both clubs' dedication towards youth development coming into play, Dutta stated, "We (Mohun Bagan) are playing football since 1889 and our motto is to help the national team and we’ve been helping the national team. But now, football has gone to the next level and we have to grow to that level. To get to that level we have to set up our youth system to be stronger and we (ATK and Mohun Bagan) will work together, mutually, as one club. That club will go out, to not just Bengal but the entire country, to get the best talent. We will develop our own squad and as well as the next generation of footballers for the national team."

Echoing Dutta's point, Srinjoy Bose added, "Mohun Bagan is a fan-based club. It is imperative for a fan-based club to get corporate backing, to tie up with corporate funding because when one wants to do something in a bigger way, in a more special and professional way, it requires a lot of funding and passion. I think this is a perfect blend of passion with money, to take it to the next level. ATK have always been a good promoter of youth football. Mohun Bagan has its own academy and has promoted football. In a way, if we can promote youth football, we can secure our future of getting new talent, which will develop Indian football to a greater level."

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