ISL 2018-19: Lulu Group International to take over at Kerala Blasters

Just weeks ahead of the start of the Indian Super League (ISL) season five, Kerala Blasters are set to undergo a change in ownership...

Lulu Group International, owned by Kerala businessman Yusuff Ali MA, will take over Blasters Sports Pvt Ltd, the owners of Kerala Blasters Football Club, Goal can confirm.

Currently, the Hyderabad-based media and entertainment house Prasad Group hold 80 per cent share in the franchise, while the rest 20 per cent is held by former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. 

The Lulu group owns the LuLu International Shopping Mall in Kochi which is the largest shopping complex in India in terms of total area. The UAE based company is a retail giant with a strong presence in the traditional supply chain from manufacture to import and export. The Group’s flagship retail chain of LuLu Hypermarkets and Supermarkets is currently rated as one of the major players in the Middle East retail sector with more than 100 stores in the region.

With an annual turnover in excess of $6.9 billion, the multi-national company plans to invest $2 billion in India in the hospitality, retail and food processing sectors in the near future.

When  Goal  got in touch Blasters' CEO Varun Tripuraneni, he said, "I cannot make a comment on this."

Kerala Blasters

Previously in 2016, popular Telegu filmstars Chiranjeevi and Akkineni Nagarjuna along with leading film producer Allu Arvind and industrialist and serial entrepreneur Nimmagadda Prasad of the Prasad Group bought 60 per cent share from PVP Group and a further 20 per cent from Tendulkar. 

The PVP group sold off its stake when Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) imposed a fine of Rs 30 crore on Prasad V. Potluri, pushing the club into financial uncertainty. 

It remains to be seen if the change in ownership affects the franchise's recruitment process though it should not be an immediate concern, given that all the signings for the coming season have been already made.

After missing out on a play-off berth in the previous edition of ISL, David James' men are expected to leave no stone unturned to make it to the top four. The squad is currently in Thailand for pre-season training.

They will take on ATK on September 29 in the inaugural match of ISL 5 at the Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata.