Atletico Madrid happy after inspecting stadia

PTI| Updated: May 06, 2014, 18:05 PM IST

Kolkata: A six-member Atletico Madrid delegation, which is here to unveil the ISL Kolkata franchise`s name and inspect the facilities, appeared `visibly happy` after doing a recce of the two stadia in Saltlake and Barasat in the outskirts.

Led by team owner and CEO Miguel Angel Marin, the officials of the Champions League finalists arrived in the morning and headed straight to check the artificial turf at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Saltlake.

"They were really impressed with the big presence of the 120,000 capacity stadium and they appeared happy," said an official of the Kolkata franchise. Later in the day, the delegation split into two groups with one heading to the Vidyasagar Krirangan in Barasat on the northen suburbs.

The top officials including the team owner remained at the hotel discussing team strategies with their city-based co-owners, former India captain Sourav Ganguly, and city industralists Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka and Utsav Parekh.

"They were particularly happy about the Barasat ground, everything was perfect but for the distance and the travelling aspect through the congested stretch of Dum Dum and Madhyamgram," the official, who accompanied the team to Barasat, added.

It is learnt that the officials will form the consortium and finalise the name of the side which is speculated to be Atletico de Madrid Kolkata and Atletico de Kolkata. "We`re happy to be here but we are not announcing anything today. The official announcement will be done at 3pm tomorrow," Ignacius a member of the Atletico delegation said.

The other members of the Spanish team who are here are Emilio Gutierrez, director of marketing, Atletico Madrid, Carlos Aguilera Martin, director of grassroots and head of Atletico Academy and Rafael Sanchez.

The members will pay their obeisience at the Mother House and in the evening Neotia will host a dinner at his Queen`s Park residence as the Atletico officials will meet legendary city based football Olympians P K Banerjee and Chuni Goswami.

The Kolkata franchise is the only one to have the backing of a prominent international football club among the eight franchises of the upcoming IPL-style Indian Sports League to be held in September.

This is their first visit to the football crazy city after they won the ISL bid for the Kolkata franchise along with Ganguly, Neotia, Goenka and Parekh.

The Spanish club is on a high after making the Champions League final for the first time since 1974 as they are eyeing a first ever title in the European Cup when they face Real Madrid in Lisbon on May 24.