DSK Shivajians unsure about I-League participation this year
I think that next year there won’t be an I-League. There will be League 2. The ISL will be the premier competition of the country. Some of the clubs will merge automatically in that league. It probably might not be called the ISL and might be called something else and that’s how it is going to be.
— Shirish Kulkarni (Team Owner)
Pune: DSK Shivajians could well become two-season I-League club of Pune, one better than Bharat FC, which played only one season, given the tone and tenor of the Shivajians’ owner, Shirish Kulkarni.
With several Shivajians players being picked up in the ISL draft last Sunday in Mumbai, the team has virtually been left empty with Kulkarni conceding that “I am not sure whether we will be there in the I-League or not.”
Certainly it is not happening this season as Kulkarni himself is battling war on many fronts, primarily the financial instability in the multi-faceted DSK Group for a few months.
“I am still on the fence. I have not decided whether we will be playing or not. Maybe somewhere in the middle of August we will take a call on it. We are still waiting as to how it happens. In all reality, I think we will play. Personally I can say I want to play but again there is so much uncertainty around everywhere, plus the kind of money required to put a team together and make sure that the I-League is successful, it is a big amount,” is how Kulkarni described the situation in an exclusive interview to Sakal Times
“Today with troubled times with the economy and our other businesses are not doing really so well so I don’t think it is appropriate. The budget goes over Rs 1.5 crore. It is a big amount. If you have deep pockets you can do it but then for how long. We have been doing this since long and we will see what happens.”
Players are secure
“Players don’t really care about it (of club playing in I-League). They have secured themselves. We have not stopped them from moving anywhere. All the players wherever that want to go, they have gone. The rest who are with me, we will see what to do,” Kulkarni informed.
“If you see in the ISL draft, a lot of our boys have been picked up, Many were our academy graduates, so from a football club perspective, it is a great sign for us. First our academy boys played in the I-League last year with our team and today they have gone to larger clubs where they can make a mark for themselves. So all of this put together, I think the club is doing well.”
“The I-League and the ISL will be running parallel. So it is exciting for us, we are also looking at options as to what all we can do. Whether we will be there in the I-League or not we are not really sure about that. Our academy is open, we are doing very well on that front.” Kulkarni explained.
“Off course we have hit a bit of snag in terms of this whole parallel league. We are actually waiting to see how it progresses and where it leads and then we will take a call on our next steps,” Kulkarni said.
When quizzed whether investing in the I-League was a good idea when everyone’s focus is on the ISL, Kulkarni said “We are a part of the I-League so we can’t really speak against our own league.”