Reliance Foundation chairperson and founder Nita Ambani has announced the expansion of the Indian Super League (ISL) to 11 teams and inducted East Bengal on Sunday.
Welcoming the Red and Gold brigade into ISL, Nita said that the inclusion of East Bengal will throw limitless opportunities for the development of Indian football in the upcoming days.
“It is such a happy and proud moment for ISL as we welcome East Bengal FC and their millions of fans into the league. The inclusion of both legacy clubs, i.e. East Bengal and Mohun Bagan (now ATK Mohun Bagan) opens limitless possibilities for Indian football, especially for talent development in the state,” said Nita in a statement.
“West Bengal has made an immense contribution to the growth of the beautiful game in India. ISL’s growing footprint in the state and across India, is yet another step towards our mission of building a competitive and robust football ecosystem in the country,” she added.
Earlier this month, East Bengal had announced Shree Cements as their new investor and further declared that they would appeal to the organisers of the ISL to make a dramatic late entry into this season’s cash-rich tournament.
The East Bengal Bengal and Shree Cements officials made the announcement in a joint press conference with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Evern since city rivals Mohun Bagan had joined hands with ATK to get their name registered in ISL, East Bengal were under tremendous pressure to make their case for India’s premier football competition.
East Bengal finally submitted their invitation to bid (ITB) papers to the AIFF’s Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) on September 15 to participate in the upcoming edition of the ISL, set to be played entirely in Goa.
After days of confusion on what will be the name of the parent company which will overlook the footballing activities of East Bengal, the club officials and their investor Shree Cement Limited decided to name the company as Shree Cement East Bengal Foundation after registering the company with Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
The ISL, in its seventh edition, will be played behind closed doors at three venues – Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda; GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim; and Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco.