Kolkata, July 22 (IANS) Indian Super League champions Atletico de Kolkata seems to be focusing more on its shorter form ATK after snapping ties with Atletico Madrid, with its principal owner Sanjiv Goenka saying on Saturday that the divorce would have no impact on the financials as the Spanish giant never paid a “single penny”.
“Atletico Madrid and ATK have come to an agreement that they (the former) would not be a part of ATK going forward. We had a good relationship. We continue to be friends,” Goenka told a media meet here.
The industrialist-cum-sports promoter, who also owns the Indian Premier League side Rising Pune Supergiant, dwelt on two aspects of his team — finances and the technical side — while answering a query on the likely impact of the end of the arrangement between the two sides.
“Speaking upfront, as far as financials are concerned, they have not invested a penny. So it doesn’t make a difference.
“And we have with us a very competent technical team,” Goenka said at the meet, where ATK presented their new British coaching staff — head coach and former Manchester United star Teddy Sheringham and technical director Ashley Westwood.
“Ashley and Teddy bring experience, success and strategy along with vision. You will see the team as we go along. And I hope we will be able to live up to the expectations that out fans have from us. We have not let down our fans over the last three seasons. We will continue to play positive football,” Goenka said.
He also announced that Atletico Madrid would sell their 25 percent stake in ATK to him.
“They had 25 percent which they would sell to us. To me,” Goenka said.
Asked whether the parting of ways with Atletico Madrid would impact ATK from the business point of view because of the longer league this year with ten teams, Goenka said: “That doesn’t make a difference. It was all funded by us. It is just a bigger league. So players will be contracted for a longer period. That’s all.”
In the official media invitations sent out before the press meet and the statements, the club — which till last year was referred to as Atletico de Kolkata — was now being referred to as ATK.
However, when asked whether the club was being re-christened after the end of the partnership with the Spanish outfit, Goenka gave a hazy reply.
“Name of the team is ATK …. Atletico de Kolkata is the full form,” he said,
“Full form is also Amar Tomar Kolkata,” he added.
With the side flying to Madrid for its pre-season tune ups at the Spanish Giant’s facility in the first three seasons, Goenka was asked about the training venue this year.
“We will finalise our Indian players in the draft tomorrow. Then we go for our foreign players. Then very soon, we will announce our entire schedule. We will announce it systematically,” he said.
Goenka welcomed the new ISL format as “better and deeper”.
“The way ISL has been formatted this year, it is a better format, deeper format. And we welcome it,” he said.
Goenka also said the draft provided a level playing field to all the teams. “So, it is not better or worse for anyone.”
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