Anticipation around the Indian Super League football seems to be building with the organisers receiving positive response from about 30 interested parties, even as the deadline for submitting the bid documents has been extended by two days to March 26 and 27.
The original dates for submission of bid documents were March 24 (today) and Tuesday.
“Between 3rd and 21st March 2014, League organisers have recorded about 30 ‘Invitation to Bid’ (ITB) document purchase. In terms of the numbers, this is by far the highest level of interest that any similar franchise-based sports property has garnered in India,” tournament organisers IMG-Reliance said in a statement.
Some of the big names from the country’s corporate world, Bollywood biggies and present sports team owners have come forward with a wish to be part of the event that promises big-ticket action.
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The league was to begin in January but had to be postponed owing to scheduling problem and lack of a window.
Promising to revolutionise the sport in the country, the league has the backing of All India Football Federation, and is likely to see big names such as former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo and former England forward Michael Owen.
The nine cities in the reckoning are Bangalore, Chennai, Dehli, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Eight cities will be shortlisted.
According to sources, each team will have to present a robust business plan that includes developing grassroots talent in their city and having an academy by the next five years. The ISL also aims to reach to one million school kids in the country.
“The mandate for winning a city team in the Indian Super League had a novelty factor wherein it’s not only based on the highest financial bid, but also on the bidders’ proposal of a sound plan for developing football in the catchment area they wish to bid.
“This plan would also form part of the agreement that each franchise would sign with the League, and would be expected to adhere to it.”
“The bid document requires an extensive groundwork which needs to be undertaken before the submission. It involves a robust business proposal and a committed five-year grassroot/ community development plan starting with 1 million in-school kids engagement plan, age group specific training, youth team and leading upto having a full-time football academy,” the statement said further.
It was also said that each of the franchise owners will have to spend Rs 2 crore on grassroot development every year.
The delay in submitting bids was due to the “demanding documentation”.
The winning bids announcement will take place in the second week of April. Ernst & Young, the advisory firm, has been entrusted the responsibility of evaluating the bid documents, following which the winning participants will be announced by first week of April.