Kolkata and Pune firms in the race to own Indian Arrows

May 30th, 2011 - 9:17 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) A day after an inspiring 5-4 win over Mohun Bagan, Indian Arrows received the happy news that at least two sponsors have approached the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to finance the squad.

Pune-based industrialist Vishwajeet Kadam, owner of deemed university Bharati Vidyapeeth University, and Kolkata’s Pailan Group are keen on taking over the reins of the team. The offers have come just in time to beat the May 31 deadline set by the federation.

Indian Arrows, meanwhile, released the 15 players taken on lien from various clubs and states.

AIFF officials last week visited Kolkata and Pune to check the facilities and by this weekend the Arrows, formed to prepare the national team for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, are expected to get a new owner.

A top AIFF official told IANS that a final decision will be taken by later this week after president Praful Patel and secretary-general Kushal Das return from the FIFA Congress in Zurich.

“The chances of the Arrows playing under a corporate house jersey are bright,” the official said.

“Though the team will be owned by an industrial house, the AIFF will provide the technical support like appointing coaches and other back-up staff. The team will be based either Pune or Kolkata depending on which corporate gets ht nod.”

The Arrows, comprising mostly under-21 players, was formed last year to prepare them for the 2018 World Cup and as a first step they have been fielded in the elite I-League.

The AIFF was struggling to maintain the team within its Rs.7 crore annual budget as it shells out Rs.11 lakh a month as rent for the self-contained resort where the players are lodged in Gurgaon. And each player gets paid between Rs.20 lakh-Rs.25 lakh a year. Domestic carrier Indigo picks up tabs for air travel of the team for I-League matches.

Despite their inexperience, the club, coached by Englishman Desmond Bulpin, has done reasonably well in their debut season.

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