The merger of two powerhouses from West Bengal holds an immense potential to take forward the rich football legacy of the state. (Photo Credit: ISL Twitter)
Mohun Bagan will be rechristened ATK-Mohun Bagan from next season after the iconic club merged with ATK FC on Thursday by selling the majority stake to the owner of the two-time Indian Super League winners. The merged club will come into existence in June and will compete in the ISL 2020-21. The two sides will, however, play separately in the current I-League and ISL seasons. As per the deal, the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, who are the principal owners of ATK, will acquire majority shareholding of 80 per cent in Mohun Bagan Football Club (India) Private Limited.
"RPSG Group is humbled and honoured to welcome Mohun Bagan with folded hands and open arms to the RPSG family. Personally, it's an emotional reunion for me as my father late R P Goenka was a member of Mohun Bagan," chairman of RPSG Group Sanjiv Goenka said while announcing the merger. "The new football club will have brand names of ATK and Mohun Bagan. This move will see the two football clubs coming together into a new merged identity to compete in the rapidly growing professional Indian football landscape," a statement said.
Goenka said the name of the merged club will be ATK-Mohun. "We have decided the new club will be ATK-Mohun Bagan," he told PTI. He said the merger of two powerhouses from West Bengal holds an immense potential to take forward the rich football legacy of the state. "Kolkata, popularly known as the mecca of Indian football, has ruled the sport for decades. The deal further promises to deliver a new and exciting element of football to the Indian fans," Goenka said in a statement issued by the ISL.
For almost the entire history of the Calcutta Football League, there have been three teams which have dominated the league. East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting had dominated the league and won titles at regular intervals. East Bengal are the 39-time champions while Mohun Bagan are the 30-time champions. However, in 2019, for the first time in 61 years, the Calcutta Football League has seen a new champion and it is the relatively unknown Peerless SC.
The merged club will come into existence in June and will compete in the ISL 2020-21. (Image credit: Twitter)
However, Peerless SC has become the Premier Division A champions in rather controversial circumstances after East Bengal handed their opponents a walkover. Heading into the match against Calcutta Customs, East Bengal needed to win by a margin of seven goals but they did not show up. The reason for East Bengal's no show was that they had appealed to the Indian Football Association to postpone the match to October 21.
The game, which was originally slated for September 29, could not be played at East Bengal's home ground due to waterlogging. IFA did not to accede to East Bengal's plea, which cleared the path for Peerless SC to be adjudged champions with 23 points from 11 matches. The East Bengal team further contributed to the chaos which issued a statement barely an hour before the match saying that its head coach Alejandro Menendez was on leave. Peerless had dazzled in the 2019 Calcutta Football League and they began their campaign with a bang by defeating both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. Ansumana Kromah of Peerless from Malaysia wass the leading goal-scoring in the tournament.