Just three seasons after the inception of the Indian Super League, it appears that Atletico Madrid are seriously rethinking their strategy of having a stake in Atletico de Kolkata, according to reports.
Atletico de Kolkata, the first official team to have been announced as part of the ISL, are owned by Kolkata Games and Sports. The team is partly funded by the fourth most successful club in Spain, Atletico Madrid. The other major investors behind the team include cricketer and former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly.
The Spanish club's primary objective behind bankrolling the Kolkata franchise was to expand its brand to the Asian market.
With Atletico de Kolkata winning the titles in 2014 and 2016, the partnership between the business consortium and the Spanish club has proved to be successful on the sports front. However, it is said that the relationship between the shareholders has gradually deteriorated.
Atletico Madrid have reportedly admitted to MARCA that they were thinking of walking away from the Indian franchise.
The Kolkata franchise recently appointed England's Ashley Westwood as the technical director. This is being seen as a sign of change in the franchise, which, until now, had Spaniards Antonio Lopez (2014-15) and Jose Francisco Molina (2016) at the position.
However, it is said that Sanjiv Goenka, the majority shareholder of the Kolkata franchise of ISL, does not consider Atletico Madrid valuable enough and blames the Spanish club for only wanting to develop their own brand.
Nevertheless, Atletico Madrid executives seem to have set their priorities straight.
"For us, India is a very important country and Calcutta (Kolkata) a very dear city," affirmed the club executives. "But we either need to develop or leave."
Updated Date: Jul 10, 2017 18:25 PM