RP-Sanjiv Goenka (RPSG) Group has signed a deal with nation’s oldest surviving football club, Mohun Bagan Football Club, to merge the ATK Football Club. Both brands will be merged into a single identity, where RPSG Group will have 80 per cent stake. Come June 1, the merged entitiy — ATK Mohun Bagan — will come into force.
“As much as we want the romance of the Maroon and Green jersey and its 130-year-old tradition to continue, there comes a time when romance almost invariably requires a partner named practicality. To usher into the new era of football, you need bigger investments and a corporate force to take it forward. This is undoubtedly a harsh and the bigger truth”, Swapan Sadhan Bose, chairman at Mohun Bagan Football Club said.
Mohun Bagan, which has a fan-base of more than 1.5 million, dons a maroon and green coloured jersey.
According to the agreement, Kolkata Games and Sports (KGS), an RPSG venture, which owns the ATK brand, will be merged with Mohun Bagan Football Club Pvt Ltd to form a new company. This new entity will come into effect by June 1 this year.
This merged entity, which is yet to be named, will own ATK Mohun Bagan. KGS has a paid-up capital of around Rs 227 crore and Mohun Bagan’s paid-up capital stands at Rs 1 lakh.
The new brand identity ATK Mohun Bagan will compete in the Hero Indian Super League season 2020-21, along with other important competitions of the All India Football Federation calendar.
“One needs to look beyond West Bengal to India and then beyond India to compete in international sports events. While the merger will benefit both us as well as Mohun Bagan with greater exposure, we have plans to take the merged entity beyond India to international events”, Sanjiv Goenka, chairman at RPSG Group told Business Standard.
Mohun Bagan created history when the club won the IFA Shield defeating East Yorkshire Regiment on July 29, 1911, and influenced the freedom movement by proving that Indians have the capability to defeat the British. Since then, it has won more than 100 major titles.
The Indian government had also released a postage stamp in 1989 to commemorate the famous IFA Shield victory and honour the club’s legacy. This is the only postage stamp in India based on a club. Mohun Bagan has also been declared as the National Club of India.
Interestingly, RP Goenka, father of Sanjiv Goenka, was also associated with Mohun Bagan as a member.
Bose said that whenever they met, business took a back seat and discussions on the club moved in the forefront.
Sources said all the forthcoming investments to this merged entity will be borne entirely by RPSG and it will also take over 80 per cent of the consolidated liabilities arising from the merger. The amount is yet to be calculated.
In the past, RPSG has taken over and grown legacies like the 120-year-old CESC, 150-year-old Spencer’s Retail, and the 100-year-old Saregama. Mohun Bagan incidentally, is India’s oldest surviving football club dating back its formation to 1889.