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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

ISL champions Bengaluru FC announce tie-up with Glasgow Rangers as Manchester City near deal with Mumbai City

Rangers, who finished second in the Scottish Premiership behind Celtic last season, have signed a two-year partnership with Bengaluru FC, the Glasgow club said in a media release.

football Updated: Sep 28, 2019 23:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Manchester City and Rangers investing in the Indian football scene.
Manchester City and Rangers investing in the Indian football scene.(Getty/Reuters)

Between Friday night and Saturday morning, one Indian Super League (ISL) club got hitched to a top Scottish club and news broke from England of another tying up with Manchester City. ISL champions Bengaluru FC announced a two-year tie-up with Rangers FC late on Friday following a media conference in Glasgow. Hours later, reported that Manchester City “are poised to finalise a deal to buy Indian Super League side Mumbai City ahead of new season starting next month (ISL6 kick-off on October 20).” A source in the ISL said it is likely to be made official next month.

The Rangers-Bengaluru FC deal includes scouting opportunities for Rangers, getting their academy team to train at the ISL champions’ training centre, holding soccer schools in Bengaluru, bringing over a team of Rangers Legends and taking BFC to play at Rangers’ stadium in Ibrox, according to a media release.

Similar tie-ups have happened in the past with Dempo inking a deal with Denmark’s FC Midtjylland in 2011. Dempo Group of Companies, it was reported, had even bought 34% stake in the club. In 2016, a report quoted Shrinivas Dempo, chairman of Dempo SC, as saying the stake had been sold. In 2008, JCT announced a partnership with Premiership club Wolverhampton Wanderers and two years later, sent five players to train there. Sheffield United partnered Tata Football Academy sending coaches over to Jamshedpur and producing a coaching model it used.

Last year, I-League champions Chennai City announced that Swiss giants FC Basel have bought 26% stake in the club. Atletico Madrid too had a stake in ATK for the first three years of the ISL from 2014, helping the Kolkata franchise win two editions by providing Spanish coaching staff and helping find foreign players who formed the spine of the team.

The City-Mumbai City deal too is likely to have the Premiership champions buying a big stake in the club, people familiar with the developments told this paper. It could mean City using its massive resources to help Mumbai City in more ways than Atletico Madrid did to ATK.

The City Football Group (CFG) has teams in USA’s Major League Soccer, Australia’s A-League, China and Uruguay. CFG also have a stake in Spain’s Girona and Japan’s Yokohama Marino’s. City CEO Ferran Sorriano visited India in January 2018 during the ISL.

“We have some interest in some markets and countries where there is a genuine football passion and opportunities like India,” said Soriano, according to the report. PTI though quoted an unnamed Mumbai City official as saying that the report of City buying any stake in Mumbai City is conjecture.

First Published: Sep 28, 2019 13:26 IST

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