BOLLYWOOD ACTOR Shah Rukh Khan may just make good on his promise to invest heavily in Indian football via a club from Kolkata.
Khan already owns the IPL franchise from Kolkata, and recently he spoke of his wish to have stakes in a football team from the city as well. And according to a report in Times of India, he is close to getting his wish.
East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, the two big football clubs from Kolkata, are expected to play in the Indian Super League from the 2017-18 season. And to raise the extra funds required for it, the Mariners are entering a deal with French corporation Lagardere and rumours suggest Atletico de Kolkata may merge with them. And since East Bengal need a big investor by their side, and Khan is looking for a club, the two make a perfect fit.
East Bengal also happens to be the favourite club of Shah Rukh Khan. At least he said as much when he held a promotional event for his movie "Dilwale" at the East Bengal Ground. He was presented with a lifetime membership at the club, wore a Red and Gold shirt and chanted the club's name along with the fans. Here's a video of the whole thing:
Meanwhile, Atletico de Kolkata have been edging closer to Mohun Bagan for a while. They previously used the Mohun Bagan Ground for their practice and Srinjoy Bose, a top ranking Bagan official, sits on the ATK board of directors. And ATK co-owner Sourav Ganguly is an ardent Mohun Bagan fan and played in their cricket team for a long time.
So there's a chance that next season onwards ISL will have East Bengal and Mohun Bagan as the two clubs from Kolkata. And as co-owners, Shah Rukh Khan might face off with Sourav Ganguly once again as rivals. But given almost a century of rivalry between the two clubs, who play one of the world's largest Derbies between themselves, the riff between owners is likely to be a minor add-on to the epic rivalry that unfolds every time these two clubs face each other.