22 Oct 2017
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AIFF allows Kalyani Group to field team for I-League from Pune

NEW DELHI: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has accepted Pune-based corporate house Kalyani Group’s bid to field a team from Pune in the 2014–15 season of I-League. This will be the second I-League team from the city apart from Ashok Piramal Group-owned Pune FC.

With the addition of the new team, India’s top flight football league will feature 11 teams. The new season of the I-League kicks off in December.

“The Kalyani group is excited about the opportunity provided by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to participate in I-League,” the company said in a statement.

“The group’s football club from Pune will be a ‘People’s club’ that will give a much-needed boost to the sport and will take it to the next level in India and also promote it at the grassroots level.

“Football is a sport most loved and watched globally. Kalyani Group, a global engineering conglomerate, is proud to support Pune’s entry into the global league of football and bring India onto the world map of sports.”

It further read: “The group believes that team sport is important in building values, team spirit and skills amongst young people.

“Through I-League, Kalyani Group aims to create further interest in football by bringing people who love football together across age groups. Sports like football is much needed for the people of Pune and will connect youth at the grassroots level through various youth development programmes. This initiative will also give the people of Pune access to world-class sports infrastructure and facilities.

“The group will build a pipeline of talent not only for the club but also for Indian football. They are committed to building a team that will compete for top honours and set the benchmark of being a professional football club.”

Welcoming the club, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said, “It’s great to have a reputed corporate like the Kalyani Group on board. We have seen Bengaluru FC scale great heights last season, and I am sure Kalyani Group would also be very enterprising in their endeavour. On behalf of the AIFF, I wish them all the luck.”

I-League CEO Sunando Dhar added, “Following BFC’s success last year, we wanted more such enthusiasts to come into Indian football to promote I-League. It’s great to have Kalyani to be part of I-League. On behalf of the AIFF and I-League, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome them on board and wish them all the best for their road ahead.”