RUMOURS OF 'REMOVE ATK' HAVE once against popped up around Mohun Bagan, as they go into their next AFC Cup fixture tomorrow.
Mohun Bagan currently play with the brand name ATK Mohun Bagan. The ATK prefix was added after Mohun Bagan's football department signed an investment deal with Kolkata based sports company KGSPL who previously owned a different club called ATK FC. But problem started when KGSPL started to brand the team as a "merged club" instead of upholding its identity as the football arm of Mohun Bagan Athletic Club.
Mohun Bagan fans have responded to this branding, which they see as an attempt to sabotage their identity and history, by constantly making their voices heard both online and offline.
The term 'Remove ATK' has trended throughout the last two years on social media and the Mariners have taken out multiple protest marches. In 2022, after stadiums re-opened following the COVID-19 pandemic, the fans have held protests at every single match, despite KGSPL's attempts to stop them from doing so through banning Mohun Bagan flags and banners as well as asking police to take down protest banners.
Since April, multiple rumours have surfaced that the KGSPL may finally listen to the fans' demands and change the team's name to Mohun Bagan SG or Mohun Bagan Super Giants in order to put an end to the controversy. While Mohun Bagan officials have sometimes dropped hints to that effect, KGSPL have never acknowledged or addressed these rumours publicly.
But before Mohun Bagan's AFC Cup match on Wednesday, rumours have started afresh. This time they've got the added element of a leaked logo, bearing the name Mohun Bagan Super Giants, making the rounds.
What's also different this time is that several prominent Mohun Bagan fan groups who have been at the forefront of the protests seem to be taing this particular rumour more seriously than they did in the case of the previous rumours.
The club licensing window for Indian clubs will open on 15th September. If any name change is to take place, it will have to happen at that point.
It remains to be seen whether this rumour serves to placate the Mariners and tone down their matchday protests at a crucial juncture.