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Remove ATK implemented, Mohun Bagan fans succeed at saving the club's identity

THE MOHUN BAGAN FANS' fervent demand to remove the 'ATK' prefix from their football team's name is finally being implemented.

Also, the claim of "merger" between ATK FC and the Mohun Bagan Athletic Club's football team, which was the source of all the trouble, seems to have been abandoned by the team management.

For the last 3 years, the Mariners have been in a fight to safeguard their club's identity as KGSPL, former owners of ATK FC and current majority shareholders of the Mohun Bagan football team, tried to brand the team as a "merged club." The claim was not borne out by the official documents, which showed that the team was playing with Mohun Bagan's registration, debunking the whole "merger" narrative. Even KGSPL's official letter to IFA, which was leaked by a Mohun Bagan fan group, described the KGSPL-Mohun Bagan deal as a "corporate joint venture" like any other investment agreement; not a "merger."

A 'Remove ATK' protest display by Mariners de Xtreme

The Mohun Bagan fans opposed the "merger" claim from the beginning because it undermined their club's identity and took away more than 130 years of sporting history and hundreds of hard-earned trophies from this team. However, KGSPL initially doubled down on their false "merger" branding. This caused the fans to protest against the management in the streets.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, when the stadiums were opened up to spectator again, the Mariners held numerous protests inside the stadium. To suppress the fan outbursts and displays of dissent, KGSPL even tried to ban flags and banners from the matches; something that's unthinkable in most football clubs in the world. However, the fans got into heavy arguments with the police when they tried to enforce this ban, and were eventually able to bring in their flags and banners.

Subsequently, ever independent fan group of Mohun Bagan called for a total boycott of the football team's matches and it caused attendance to plummet.

With the tide turning heavily against the management and many fan groups calling for an end to the KGSPL-Mohun Bagan deal, better sense prevailed. On 18th March, after the ISL playoff final win, KGSPL chairman Dr Sanjiv Goenka announced that the team would drop the 'ATK' prefix from its brand name. Subsequently, in a board meeting, the decision to rename the Mohun Bagan football team as 'Mohun Bagan Super Giant' was officially adopted. The decision was met by cheers and gratitude from the fans who were protesting for the last 3 years.

Today, the name change was officially implemented on various social media platforms of the team. Not only that, the official bio for the team on Facebook also removed any mention of the "merger" claim; instead talking about Mohun Bagan's true history.

The updated bio on Facebook

With this, one of the most remarkable fan movements in the history of Indian football has come to a successful conclusion; where a loose collective of fan clubs led by young supporters managed to overturn a massive corporate branding narrative propped up by a heavily funded PR & marketing initiative that was unquestioningly parroted by most of the media.

With the protesting fans set to finally return to the stadium in their usual supportive capacity in the 2023-24 season, things look promising for the club that's weathered many storms in its illustrious history, and is set to turn 133 years old in the next couple of months.

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