AFTER THE SUCCESS of Bengaluru FC in creating a loyal football fanbase in Bangalore from ground up, more corporate interests have risen with an aim to get a share of that pie. After an ISL franchise from Bangalore failed to materialize and had to be moved to Chennai, one of their sponsors is venturing into the Karnataka capital to start a professional club.
Ozone Group, who had started a football academy in the city back in 2011, recently won the rights to renovate the Bangalore Football Stadium, the original home ground of Bengaluru FC before they moved to Sree Kanteerava Stadium. Now they have launched a professional football club based on that ground as a front-end to their academy.
The club will be known as Ozone FC and they will make their first appearance when the Bangalore Distric Football Association Super Division League kicks off next month. They have appointed UEFA A-License holder Bert Zuurman as the club's Head Coach and Technical Director.
When news first broke of the club's arrival there was an impression that they would take the corporate direct entry route to play in I-League, which created some confusion because two corporate clubs from one city is against AIFF's rules.
Even Bengaluru FC CEO Parth Jindal took to Twitter to assert that a second corporate club from the city was not possible.
However, soon it became clear that Ozone FC want to enter the I-League via the 2nd Division League. According to a statement from the club, they have entered Indian football with a long term plan and want to reach the top division by 2017.
Their arrival will certainly spice up the next season of the 2nd Division League, as it will see another legitimate title contender along with the likes of Chanmari FC, Lonestar Kashmir FC and Mohammedan Sporting Club.