New Delhi: Mahindra Group may have decided to disband their I-League club but United Breweries, sponsors of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, said they would continue their support for the two Kolkata giants.
Fraser Castellino, chief operating officer of sports marketing business of UB Group, conceded that I-League does not provide profitable returns to the corporates but indicated there was no immediate plan to withdraw their sponsorship.
"It is unfortunate that Mahindra United has decided to shut down. I can`t comment as a I don`t have the facts. I-League has to be changed to make it a business proposition. AIFF should understand that corporates expect return to their investment," said Castellino at a football forum panel discussion.
"We are not getting the kind of return that we expect but we remain optimistic that things will change in I-League," he added.
Castellino denied UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya was involved in any plan of starting an IPL-style football league, along with IPL side Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra.
"It was just an idea. Nothing beyond that," he said.
I-League chief executive Sunando Dhar said it was unfortunate for Mahindra to shut shop but said other corporate houses are on the line to own teams.
"Some corporates are talking to us to own franchisee teams and these teams would feature in 2011-12 I-League. So, it is a case of loss of a Mahindra but other corporates coming in," he said.
"We are going for a structural change of the I-League from 2011-12. We are working with sponsors and broadcasters to package and market the I-League in a better way," he added.