After the Kolkata Knight Riders, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan now plans to move into the more popular football space. He is planning to bid for the Kolkata franchise of the new league promoted by All India Football Federation (AIFF) and IMG-Reliance. Shah Rukh said he was interested in buying stakes in the successful Goan I-League club Dempo but now with a new franchise-based league coming up he has changed his mind.“Earlier I was planning to buy stakes in Dempo and now with the new franchise-based league coming up, I will have a look at it. I will love to own a franchise,” Shah Rukh was quoted as saying by a TV channel. Asked which city he would buy, Shah Rukh said: “I will love to have the Kolkata football club.” Eight clubs, 176 players, 72 overseas stars and 10 weeks of packed action – that is how the AIFF’s commercial partner IMG-Reliance plans to glamourise Indian football early next year.
The new tournament, scheduled between Jan 18 and March 30, is on the lines of cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL), also managed by IMG. IMG-R have a contract with the AIFF to run the event for 12 years. Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Goa and Guwahati have been shortlisted for the auction. Each team will have nine foreign, eight Indians and four U-21 players, who will be up for grabs in September. Some of the world’s top footballers – David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Michael Owen and Raul Gonzalez – could be seen in action in the tournament. There will also be eight icon players and four names will be made public in September before the franchise auction. The remaining four, along with other players, will be named in October before the players’ auction in November. IMG-R have already signed 37 Indian players for the tournament.