Indian Super League: Sourav Ganguly's Atletico de Kolkata Aims to Bind a Historic Football 'Divide'

For almost a century, Indian football has been in the grip of three historic clubs of Kolkata known as the Big Three. Football loyalties have been sharply divided among Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting supporters. The Indian Super League and Sourav Ganguly co-owned Atletico de Kolkata attempts to bridge this 'gap'.

updated: October 12, 2014 13:55 IST
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Co-owner Sourav Ganguly at an Atletico de Kolkata press event


For close to a century, Kolkata's passionate millions have often gone to a 'war' with each other - a battle of words, numbers, titles, goals, legends. Football may have failed to inspire India to look beyond the contours of cricket, but the most popular sport in the world, has always found pride of place in the City of Joy. Generations of fans for close to a century have lived and breathed football. They have fiercely argued with their own. For over a century now, football has split Kolkata into three. (Tournament preview)

Post-independence, the traditional dwellers identified themselves with rise and fall of Mohun Bagan, while the 16 lakh refugees, driven out of their homes and land in the eastern region of Bengal (now Bangladesh) invested their hopes, joy and aspiration in the meteoric rise of East Bengal.

The East Bengal-Mohun Bagan rivalry remains the most passionate in the city to this day, more than 60 years after a radio commentator built up the hype on air. With passage of time and political history, emerged a third powerhouse -- Mohammedan Sporting Club. The club had suffered major loss of talent after partition when most of their supporters migrated to Pakistan. But smart policy changes (including the recruitment of non-Muslim players) helped the team rise from the doldrums, much to the pride of its Muslim fans.

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