RPSG Group, who own Indian Super League outfit ATK, acquired an 80 per cent majority stake in Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan that will see the two clubs merge, the I-League club announced in a statement on their Facebook page on Thursday.
The new club will come into existence from June 1, 2020, and will feature the brand names of both ATK and Mohun Bagan. It will ply their trade in the Indian Super League from the 2020-’21 season.
The new team is likely to don the red and white strips of ATK instead of the famous maroon and green of Mohun Bagan, its chairman Swapan Sadhan Bose hinted. The members of Mohun Bagan Atletic Club will continue to get discounted prices for the home games.
Here is the full statement:
RPSG Group, which owns and runs professional football club ATK FC will acquire majority shareholding in Mohun Bagan Football Club (India) Private Limited. This move will see the two football clubs coming together into a new merged identity to compete in the rapidly growing professional Indian football landscape.
The new football club will have brand names of ATK and Mohun Bagan. RPSG Group will become 80 % majority shareholder alongside Mohun Bagan Football Club (India) Private Limited owning the remaining 20 % shares.
The amalgamation of two powerhouses from West Bengal holds an immense potential to take forward the rich legacy of the State into the new footballing era of 21st century. Kolkata - popularly known as the mecca of Indian football has ruled the sport for decades. The deal further promises to deliver a new and exciting element of football to the Indian fans.
Welcoming Mohun Bagan into the group Dr. Sanjiv Goenka, Chairman, RPSG Group said:
“RPSG Group which has a 200-year-old legacy is humbled and honoured to welcome Mohun Bagan with folded hands and open arms to the RPSG family. RPSG Group is known for acquiring and growing legacies such as the 120-year-old CESC, 150-year-old Spencer’s Retail, and the 100-year-old Saregama. Personally, it’s an emotional reunion for me as my father Late Shri R P Goenka was a member of Mohun Bagan.”
Commenting on the unison and opportunities it presents Mr. Swapan Sadhan Bose, Chairman, Mohun Bagan Football Club (India) Pvt. Ltd. said:
“As much as we want the romance of the Maroon and Green jersey and it’s 130-year-old tradition to continue, there comes a time when romance almost invariably requires a partner named practicality. To usher into the new era of football, you need bigger investments and a corporate force to take it forward. This is undoubtedly a harsh and the bigger truth.
In this context I am very thankful to India’s one of the most well-known industrialists and our Kolkata’s very own Dr. Sanjiv Goenka for his investment through RPSG. Their vision on Indian football aligns with our philosophy and our combined forces will surely take the club to a bigger and greater heights. In this respect it is a red-letter day in the history of this iconic institution.
I thank Mr. Goenka profusely for partnering our dream. His father, the Late R.P. Goenka was a good friend of mine. Apart from his legendary acumen as a businessman, RPG had a huge fondness for Mohun Bagan and was one of our members. Whenever we met business took a back seat and discussions on the club moved in the forefront. I can assure millions and millions of Bagan supporters spread across the globe, that the poetry will continue. Now that the prose is ready to lend a helping hand.”
The merged club will come into existence from First of June, 2020 and will compete in Hero Indian Super League season 2020-21, along with other important competitions of the All India Football Federation calendar.
It was also announced that the members of the Mohun Bagan Athletic Club will continue to get discounted tickets for all home matches.
Mohun Bagan Athletic Club, established in the year 1889, is a 130-year-old club with over 100 major titles is synonymous with the rich footballing tradition in the country. The Club won IFA Shield defeating East Yorkshire Regiment on 29th July, 1911 and created history which influenced the Indian struggle for freedom against the imperial British. The Government of India released a postage stamp in 1989 to commemorate this famous victory and to honour the Club and its immortal Eleven in the fight against British oppression. This is the only postage stamp in India based on a club. The Club was also declared as the ‘National Club of India’.
ATK Football Club - the two-time champion in Hero Indian Super League is a strong contender for the first ever direct AFC Champions League group stage (2021) spot for an Indian club. ATK emerged victorious in the inaugural ISL edition in 2014 and followed it up in 2016 –one of only two clubs to hold the prestigious ISL trophy for the most number of times.
Indian Super League - The Hero ISL, launched by Football Sports Development Limited – a joint venture between Reliance Industries Ltd., and Star India in 2014 is India’s premier football league. The League is currently being played amongst ten professional football clubs. ATK and Chennaiyin FC have won the prestigious ISL trophy twice over the last five seasons, while new entrant Bengaluru FC is the defending champion into the current 2019-20 season.
As the country’s premier football league, the 2019-20 league stage winner will get direct entry into the AFC Champions League group stage competition, a first for an Indian club.