Tendulkar, Ganguly to own football franchises

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MUMBAI, India (AP) -- Former Indian cricket captains Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were on Sunday announced as co-owners of franchises in a new professional football league on the subcontinent.

The announcement was made by organizers of the Indian Super League, which is expected to see aging stars like Thierry Henry, Hernan Crespo and Fredrik Ljungberg in action in the first edition from September to November this year.

Tendulkar has bagged the franchise for the southern Indian city of Kochi along with business group PVP ventures, which also owns a team in the Indian Badminton League. Ganguly will co-own the Kolkata team as part of a consortium that also includes Spanish league team Atletico Madrid.

Organizers IMG-Reliance, who are also the main sponsors of the All India Football Federation with a 15-year marketing contract in place since 2010, also announced a number of Indian cinema stars as co-owners after evaluating some 30 bids.

Bollywood actors Salman Khan (Pune), Ranbir Kapoor (Mumbai) and John Abraham (Shillong) were among the co-owners while Den Network (Delhi), Sun Group (Bangalore) and Videocon (Goa) will run the other teams.

The ISL is an additional tournament in India after a national I-League tournament run by the AIFF.

The I-League features several foreign players but none are stars because the top earners in the league make about $100,000-$150,000 per season.