Mohammedan Sporting president Sultan Ahmed said that the Indian Super League is depriving the Indian fans if they don’t include the club, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. “We have millions of fans all over India,” he said, “By not including century-old clubs Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting, ISL is depriving the Indian fans.”
The Kolkata clubs are three of the oldest and most decorated clubs in the history of Indian football. They expressed interest in joining the ISL, which is now expanding to a league that will run parrallel to the I-League but are staunchly against the idea of having to pay franchise fees.
Ahmed, who is also a Member of Parliament for the Trinamool Congress, said, “It’s difficult to fight against the Ambanis (the organisers of ISL). We are helpless and will protest silently.” Ahmed did praise the ISL though. “It has helped in many areas,” he said, “It has given a lot of young players an opportunity to play against or with some of the top foreign players.”
“It is a good innovation for Indian football because not only it bring new players in but it also bringing people back to Indian football but it’s high time that they involve the top clubs of India,” he said.
The ISL had recently announced the inclusion of two-time I-League champions Bengaluru FC into their mix. Bengaluru thus became the first I-League club to play in the cash-rich league. Apart from this a new franchisee from Jamshedpur was also announced that will be owned by the Tata group.