2018-19 I-League champions Chennai City FC are close to securing funding from potential investors in Europe, following up on the selling of 26% stakes in the club to FC Basel in 2019. With Basel now on board, Chennai City are now looking to acquire additional funds to the tune of €20 million which will allow them to become financially stable and invest in their proposed academy in Coimbatore, as well as buy a substantial stake in two-time Indian Super League (ISL) winners Chennaiyin FC, according to a report by The Times of India.
The report also states that The Lions are looking to take over operations at their neighbours from next season onwards, thereby creating a direct pathway for the team’s entry into the ISL. Another direct consequence of this might be that the club management may decide to pull out of the upcoming I-League season to save up on the Rs 2-3 Crore that they would have to invest for the entire season.
Forward together 💪 https://t.co/mG3W5S5wCQ
— Chennai City FC (@ChennaiCityFC) October 7, 2020
With the ISL getting recognition as the top division in the country from this season and heavyweight teams like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan jumping ship as well, the I-League has lost a lot of its importance and is expected to generate even less revenue than previous seasons amidst the pandemic. On top of that, while the ISL is set to begin next month, the dates for the I-League have still not been released, complicating the team-building process for all the clubs. In this context, the guarantee of playing in the ISL next season might influence the management in deciding against participating in the I-League for one year.
However, with a lot of paperwork still left, there might be too little time for all the formalities to be completed which might eventually force the club’s hand into participating in the I-League. Therefore a lot hinges on how quickly they can zero in on the new investors and initiate the processes required to ensure that the takeover of Chennaiyin is complete, with the club talking to a number of sports fund entities and high net-worth individuals to find a breakthrough. If they are forced to play in the I-League this season, that will have to be under a new coach since the club have let Singaporean head coach Akbar Nawas go just this past week after a little more than two years in charge.