Fight for Kerala franchise in the proposed IMG-Reliance tournament

Talk of a Kerala franchise in the newly proposed IMG-R league has stroked a battle royale amongst investors, with a gaggle of them queue up for its ownership...

Whilst the very notion of a parallel league to run alongside the I-League is getting whipped by traditional club owners, a bevy of investors look to gain control of the Kerala franchise of the new league.

IMG-Reliance, the commercial and marketing partners of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), have taken the initiative to come up with an IPL-style football league which is to kick-off in January 2014.

According to the New Indian Express sources, the investors groups, who number close to a dozen, are mostly composed of Non-Resident Indians (NRI). They are hell-bent on promoting a Kochi-based club, with a view to grapple the frenzy for the game.

A group of investors from the Thrissur district of Kerala have planned an entity on a public-private partnership model.

To this effect, Benoy Parakkadath who claims to be a representative of the yet to be founded club, has met the Chief Minister of Kerala, Oomen Chandy.

“Some NRKs (Non-Resident Keralites) who have a genuine interest towards the game have come up with the idea of owning a team from Kerala in the tournament,” elucidated Benoy.

“Though the concept of the club is still in an infant state, we have got positive responses from the Kerala Football Association and the CM. We would like to have the participation of like-minded persons to start it as a CIAL-modelled project.”

The CIAL(Cochin International Airport Limited) model here refers to an initiative by the government of Kerala in partnership with private investors and companies, who together adopted a "public-private" parnership to build and maintain the airport in Kochi, Kerala. 

The coterie plan to christen the club People Alliance Club - Kerala Soccer (PACKS). They plan to use Jawaharlal Nehru international stadium in Kochi as the home ground, while proposals for the club's academies are also being stroked. This depends on the group’s bid being declared successful.

In a bulletin issued by the AIFF, they specified that the newly proposed tournament will have franchises based in Kochi, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Goa and Delhi with Hyderabad and Guwahati as back-up options.

The ownership of these franchises will guarantee a longevity of ten-years to the successful bidder and it will also be registered as a club.


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