Kolkata: Sourav Ganguly has been a passionate football-lover since childhood. And it's this passion that has influenced his decision to own a football franchise.
Co-owner of ISL Kolkata Franchise Sourav Ganguly at a press meet in Kolkata yesterday
Coincidentally, the person he beat to win the Kolkata franchise of the Indian Super League is none other than the owner of the India Premier League's Kolkata franchise, Shah Rukh Khan.
The former India captain however was in no mood to be distracted by any other sport yesterday at the official launch of the ISL's Kolkata franchise.
"Please don't compare it to cricket right now. It's too early to speculate. We are yet to finalise the name of the franchise, yet to discuss the colour of the jerseys, etc.
We have only secured the ownership of the Kolkata franchise. We are group of people passionate about our city," said Ganguly at an overcrowded press conference room at an east Kolkata hotel yesterday.
Quizzed about the lack of infrastructure in Indian football, Ganguly shot back: "Not just me, but even the great Sachin Tendulkar began playing either on matting wickets or on wickets hardly suitable for the ideal growth of a young cricketer. What mattered was talent and our passion. Despite the system, we emerged."
Kolkata is the only franchise in the eight-team ISL to be associated with a foreign club. The consortium is owned by Atletico Madrid, Ganguly and three top city-based industrialists — Sanjiv Goenka, Utsav Parekh and Harshavardhan Neotia. Ganguly felt the team's association the mighty Atletico Madrid, only makes his job easier.
"They are pioneers in the trade and will plan things for us, for the academy for grassroot footballers, etc Our duty is only to execute their plans", added Ganguly.