Chennai : After the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has become the latest cricketer to own a football team in the high-profile Indian Super League, investing in the Chennaiyin FC ahead of the event starting 12th October.
Dhoni, the current Indian cricket captain, has signed a deal to be a co-owner of Chennaiyin FC along with Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan.
“Dhoni has signed a deal to become a co-owner of Chennaiyin FC,” a source from IMG-Reliance, the organisers of the much-anticipated league said.
Last month, Dhoni’s deputy in the Indian cricket team was announced as co-owner of ISL team FC Goa. Tendulkar is a co-owner of Kerala Blasters while ex-cricket captain Sourav Ganguly is a co-owner of Atletico de Kolkata.
Dhoni was excited to be a part of ISL as he is also passionate about football.
“I used to be a goalkeeper in school and always enjoy playing and watching the game. I wanted to be associated with football so when the opportunity came to be a part of Chennaiyin FC I was ecstatic as this gives me a chance to connect with the city of Chennai again. I have played franchise cricket for this city so I know how supportive they are,” Dhoni stated.
He added, “I am sure all the players of Chennaiyin FC will see how much love Chennai gives to their players. The Hero Indian Super League is a fantastic platform for football to grow with so many big names, IMG-Reliance and Star India associated with it. I look forward to an exciting season ahead but at the same time it’s important that we develop the grassroots level and produce more football stars in India.”
The announcement was made by Chennaiyin FC co-owner Vita Dani. “It is an absolute honour to have the legendary MS Dhoni as one of the co-owners of our franchise, Chennaiyin FC. Mahi has a strong association with the people of Chennai and so with him coming on board, we take another giant step towards achieving the goal of creating a world class football club in Chennai. Vanakkam Mahi!”
Chennaiyin FC starts their ISL campaign with an away game against FC Goa on October 15 while their first home fixture is against Kerala Blasters on October 21.
To a question if ISL would be as successful as IPL, Dhoni said, “Well it should be. There is no good reason as I said before that all the big players have associated themselves with the teams in ISL. All we need is support of the common man.”
He said like in the IPL, the upcoming football league, with the presence of international stars, will help in understanding different cultures
The ISL kicks off on October 12 in Kolkata while the final will go on till December 20th.
It is a very good development that Cricketers are investing their monies in other games like Foot Ball. It is hoped that game of foot ball will also improve considerably after some time with such encouragement from Cricketers and celebrities.
Pro Kabaddi league has shown that if packaged properly and marketed well, even Kabaddi can succeed, So football being worldwide popular sport, should have no problem in winning the hearts of India fans.