New Delhi: At a time when the apex court has taken a serious view of a cricket board official’s conflict of interest in the ownership of an Indian Premier League (IPL) team, another team, Mumbai Indians, has decided against bidding for a franchise in the forthcoming football Indian Super League (ISL).
“Mumbai Indians owners have not put in a bid because IMG-Reliance has been granted the master rights of the ISL to maintain the highest standards of corporate governance,” an IMG Reliance source told IANS Thursday from Mumbai.
Bidding for the city-franchises of the IMG-Reliance promoted ISL, backed by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), closed March 27.
Mumbai Indians owners IndiaWin Sports is a group company of Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).
IPL franchises, Shah RuKh Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders and GMR, the promoters of Delhi Daredevils, have both placed bids for the ISL.
Another bidder is a Sourav Ganguly-fronted consortium, which includes the Spanish football club Atletico Madrid.
The source said ISL, to be launched in September, had received 14 bids against the purchase of about 30 ‘Invitation to Bid’ (ITB) documents.
Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Guwahati, Goa, Chennai, Pune and Kochi are the franchises up for auction, and the top-eight bidders will get to own the teams in the cities of their choice.
IMG-Reliance, in collaboration with AIFF, has engaged consultants Ernst & Young to evaluate the bids before the ownership of the franchises are announced in the second week of April.
The football league has a clause that insists on corporate social responsibility of owners.
“The mandate for winning a city team in the ISL is not only based on the highest financial bid, but also on the bidders’ proposal of a sound plan for developing football in the catchment area they wish to bid,” a source in the organisation told IANS.
“The bidder has to commit to a community development plan that includes promoting grassroots talent in their city and an academy in the next five years. These key clauses would be part of the deal,” he added.