FC Basel signs strategic partnership with Chennai City FC

The partnership will see FC Basel actively involved with the I-League outfit in setting up the planned CCFC junior academy.

Chennai City FC is currently on top of the table in I-League.   -  AIFF

In order to help better harness the local football talent of Tamil Nadu and develop a good infrastructure, Chennai City FC has entered into a deal with FC Basel, a 20-time Swiss Super League champion.

It is a knowledge-sharing pact as well as a financial one. FC Basel Holding AG has acquired a 26 per cent equity stake in Chennai City, and the club will offer its professional expertise in, among others, sporting, infrastructure and legal areas.

Commenting on the tie-up, Rohit Ramesh, owner, Chennai City FC, said, “We wanted to do something unique. We wanted to see whether we have a sustainable model [of running a football club]. This kind of ‘marriage’ between two clubs will [help us bring] expertise on board and [develop] more of a professional approach.”

Chennai City is among the contenders for the I-League 2018-19 title, currently occupying the second spot in the points table with six matches to go. However, on Tuesday, the club made it clear that any ambitions concerning its team would be secondary to the overall development of the club.

Rohit said, “[Playing the Indian Super League] is absolutely not on the cards. We are happy where we are. We are going to concentrate on our next six games, and our partners are also really keen that we concentrate on our next six games. Our focus is only on the infrastructure, which is very essential for us and with the right mindset and the right attitude, I think we should be able to focus only on that.”

From Left to Right: Peter Martin Von Bueren (CFO) FC Basel, Roland Heri (CEO) FC Basel, Rohit Ramesh, Co-owner-Chennai City FC, Bernhard Burgener (President) FC Basel, R Krishnakumar Co-owner- Chennai City FC, Massimoh ( Head of Youth Development) FC Basel.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

Later, he brushed aside the uncertainties that may arise for his club due to decisions taken by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) regarding the I-League and the ISL. He said, “There are always going to be uncertainties. We want to stick to what we want to do; youth academy and infrastructure [will be our top priorities].”

He added, “Whatever the AIFF decides, we will abide by it.”

Bernhard Burgener, president, FC Basel, revealed his club’s attraction for the vision of Chennai City. Calling the deal “a historic moment” for both entities, he said, “In our discussions, we liked the philosophy [of the club]. Not every day is going to be sunny side up (sic). But we are also willing to invest [in the club], and not just make money out of it. Good times will come. We have work to do.”

Kushal Das, general secretary, AIFF, also hailed the deal, and expressed optimism for a bright future for Indian football. Charting the rise of the Indian football team in the last few years, he said, “More and more countries are willing to play with India now. Earlier, there was a problem of finding opponents, but [recently] we had a match with China, [and] we [also] played Jordan. All these countries are willing to play with us. There is optimism. It’s a big country; it will take some time to get everyone together, to get the right people will still take time, but [we are] on the right track.”

In order for the national team to further rise, though, it needs a head coach. The AIFF doesn’t expect the position to be filled before April-May 2019, according to Kushal Das.

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