Panaji: Even as the launch of the franchise-based Indian Super League (ISL) has raised concerns in some quarters that the days of the I-League may be numbered, Srinivas Dempo, the owner of I-League club Dempo FC and co-owner of the ISL side FC Goa, believes that the new league can in fact benefit I-League.
(Extreme left): Dattaraj Salgaocar, Manohar Parrikar (Goa Chief Minister), Venugopal Dhoot, Srinivas Dempo and Saurabh Dhoot at the launch of FC Goa in Panaji yesterday
"There's a tremendous amount of synergy that you can develop (between both the leagues). They can work in tandem. If we start making money in the ISL, we can largely invest it back in the I-League which is the core league of the country.
"In fact, if the Club World Cup happens in India, the winner of the I-League will participate in the league and not the ISL winners.
"There's no conflict as long as there are separate entities and you manage them professionally and independently," Dempo said on the sidelines of the launch of the FC Goa franchise. FC Goa will see as many as 12 Dempo players turn out for them.
Dattaraj Salgaocar, owner of Salgaocar and co-owner of the FC Goa franchise, believes that the new league will popularise the sport and will eventually lead to better attendance at I-League games.
He said, "Of course, ISL will change the way football is perceived and played. It will bring Indian football to the masses."
Actor Varun Dhawan was presented as the first friend of FC Goa here yesterday. On being asked whether the move meant that the franchise would not rope in cricketer Virat Kohli as the face of their club, Saurabh Dhoot, the Director of the Videocon group which is a co-owner of the franchise, was non-committal. "Varun will be like a high-profile supporter for our club. But our discussions with Kohli are confidential," Dhoot said.