The Telegraph
Wednesday , May 7 , 2014
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Dropping ‘de’ is an option

Calcutta: The city franchise in the Indian Super League (ISL) will either be called Atletico de Kolkata or simply Atletico Kolkata.

Dropping the “de,” indeed, is an option doing the rounds.

“At the end of the day, we have to make things simple for the fans, who’ll be driving the franchise,” co-owner Atletico de Madrid’s managing director (business development) Javier Martinez told The Telegraph on Tuesday.

Speaking informally at a dinner hosted by Harshavardhan Neotia, a co-owner himself, Martinez added: “The call will be taken jointly by our Board and the four co-owners who’re based in Calcutta. We’ve already had talks, another round is scheduled before the formal announcement.”

Owner and CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin endorsed what Martinez said.

The colour(s) of the jersey and the crest will also be finalised on Wednesday, ahead of the 3.00 pm media conference.

One understands the city franchise’s design will have to be “in harmony” with the Atletico de Madrid logo.

It’s unusual for the owner to also be the CEO, but the soft-spoken Marin reminded that he wears three hats.

“The third hat is that of an Atletico de Madrid fan...You’ll probably be interested to know that my association started as an employee of the club,” Marin quipped.

Both Marin and Martinez have, by the way, been very impressed with Sourav Ganguly, an iconic co-owner of the Calcutta franchise.

“From what we’ve found out, Sourav played with passion and, as captain, injected steel into India’s cricket team. Well, Atletico de Madrid is all about passion and playing with plenty of spirit,” Martinez pointed out.

Marin and Martinez actually did “some homework” on Sourav before boarding an Emirates flight out of Madrid.

Atletico de Madrid have made the May 24 Champions League final, against Real Madrid, and Marin has personally invited Sourav and his wife, Dona, to be “honoured guests.”

But will any of the Atletico de Madrid players be able to turn out for Atletico de Kolkata/ Atletico Kolkata?

Highly unlikely, as things stand. Unless, Marin...

Marin signed off saying: “Till we came over, we thought India is only about cricket, but that’s not so. For us, then, it has been a pleasant revelation.”

Among Neotia’s invitees were Trinamul Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien and the state’s sports minister, Madan Mitra.

Mitra came late and left after 15-odd minutes, but not before having a tete-e-tete with Marin.

Marin, one learns, raised the issue of improving the facilities — and the turf itself — at the government-owned Salt Lake Stadium.