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ISL franchise is in trouble

New Delhi: On a day when promoters of the Indian Super League (ISL) announced that a couple of Colombian former internationals would be participating to add South American flavour to the meet, there were strong speculations about a possible change of guard in the Bangalore franchise.

According to sources, the Bangalore Titans, backed by the Sun Group, are all set to withdraw from the 11-week tournament in the next few days. The promoters of the meet have already launched the search for alternative owners and three companies have been identified.

“There are three companies who have shown interest in taking up the Bangalore team… one of them is a top film star from Mumbai,” claimed a source.

There was, however, no confirmation whether the players recruited by the Sun Group would be accommodated by the new owners.

The Bangalore Titans have some of the leading footballers in the country on their rolls, including striker Jeje Lalpekhlua, goalkeeper Shilton Paul, defender Gourmangi Singh and attacking midfielder NP Pradeep.

An official said the Bangalore franchise was perhaps not too happy with some of the decisions taken by the league promoters. “The Bangalore team wanted to play all their home matches on Sunday, something that was not approved by the organisers. They felt it would be unfair on other franchise to allow the Bangalore team to have the prime dates in their favour,” he said.

A source in the All India Football Federation (AIFF), however, said that the league promoters were not too happy with the Bangalore Titans working closely with the owners of the Bengaluru FC. The I League champions had opposed the idea of the ISL in the beginning and even refused to release players for the franchise meet.

Meanwhile, the South American duo – Jairo Suarez and Andres Gonzalez – have already confirmed their participation in the ISL. The organisers said that 47 other footballers would further line up in the draft of foreign players that would be held on August 21.