SRK eyes stake in I-League champions Dempo (Evening Lead)

June 1st, 2012 - 9:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Shah Rukh Khan New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) As Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan eyes a stake in India’s I-League champions Dempo, the football club hopes that the association will take them and Indian football to a new level.

After tasting success in cricket, Shah Rukh Khan, who co-owns Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Kolkata Knight Riders, has now switched his attention to soccer and is in talks to pick up a stake in the Goa-based club.

Dempo owner Srinivas Dempo, a mining baron, said the club is in talks with Shah Rukh and hoped to wrap it up by next month.

“We are in advanced talks with Shah Rukh. And the outcome has been very positive. We hope to seal everything by the next one month,” said Dempo.

“He shows very high level of sportsmanship and commitment. Besides with SRK brand associated with the club it will help raise more sponsorship for the club. Besides it will also take Dempo and Indian football to a global level. We hope to get in better players and raise the standard of Indian football,” he said.

Dempo secretary-general Armando Colaco was also hopeful that the association will be fruitful.

“Shah Rukh has shown interest in Dempo. Talks are still going on and it will take some time to finalise the deal. The modalities are yet to be worked out,” Colaco told IANS.

Asked if Shah Rukh will also be the brand ambassador for the Goan club, Colaco said: “We are still working out how to use Shah Rukh’s image to boost the club. Hopefully we will have a great deal.”

Dempo, India’s most successful club in recent times, has an annual budget of around Rs.12 crore.

Shah Rukh’s involvement will surely be a boon for the club. Dempo have won the I-league thrice since it was launched in 2007-08. They have also won the erstwhile National Football League twice in 2004-05 and 2006-07.

Dempo are also the only Indian club to make the semi-finals of the AFC Cup, Asia’s second tier club competition, in 2008.

Over the past couple of years, a number of celebrities have shown interest in promoting Indian football. In 2009, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) roped in Salman Khan, Shah Rukh’s arch-rival, as brand ambassador.

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty and her industrialist husband Raj Kundra, who are co-owners of IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals, had also shown interest in playing an active role in Indian football.

Among other IPL owners, Vijay Mallya, who owns Royal Challengers Bangalore, is the chief sponsor of Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.

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