Vijay Mallya's affair with sports: From owning IPL franchise to giving away passion of horse racing

Former liquor baron Vijay Mallya never shied away from showing his passion for sports. Apart from being in the business of making alcohol beverages, Mallya also involved himself heavily with sports. At one point, he owned Indian Premier League side Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), I-League clubs Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, Formula One team Force India, and also various race horses in India.

File image of Vijay Mallya. Reuetrs

File image of Vijay Mallya. Reuetrs

But as Mallya got embroiled in various financial scandals, he had to part ways with few of his sporting businesses.

The latest to join the list is Mallya's company United Racing & Bloodstock Breeders Limited (URBBL), which has decided to cut its participation in Indian horse racing. The company has drastically reduced its operations over last few years and is now preparing to hand over its Kunigal Stud Farm back to the Karnataka government.

Mallya was very active in the horse racing scene where at one stage, his company had at least 100 horses under different trainers across the country. Managing Director of URBBL Zeyn Mirza confirmed the news to Mumbai Mirror and said, "Horse-racing was and is Vijay Mallya's passion and his hobby. If he is unable to enjoy the sport in India then there is no point in the company (URBBL) continuing."

Last year in February, Mallya resigned as chairman and non-executive director of United Spirits Limited (USL), Four Seasons Wines Limited and also from his position as a director of Royal Challengers Sports Private Limited (RCSPL). The move resulted in him losing the ownership of his beloved T20 cricket team RCB. Since the first season of the Indian Premier League, Mallya was often found cheering for his team at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. He bought the team in 2008 for a whopping $111.6 million.

The resignation also stemmed in I-League club Mohun Bagan parting ways with him. The then club president Swapan Sadhan Bose said to the Telegraph, "Since November 2014, the sponsorship with USL became more or less non-existent, as the company had not been funding our club. Now that Mallya has resigned, it officially ends all ties."

Mohun Bagan's deal with Mallya's United Breweries (UB) Group took place in late 90s, where he bought 50 percent stake in the club.

Though, Mallya is still the co-owner Force India, now called as Sahara Force India because of  Sahara India Pariwar company purchasing 42.5 percent of Force India F1's shares, he had to resign from his position as India's representative to Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) because of money laundering allegations.

Despite cutting away ties with Mohun Bagan, Mallya never gave up on East Bengal. He had to step down from the board of Mohum Bagan because being present in boards of rival clubs went against Asian Football Confederation club licensing criteria.

As of now, Mallya is still the club chairman of East Bengal.

Updated Date: Aug 04, 2017 21:47 PM

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