New Delhi: All set to take Indian football by storm, bids for the prospective Indian Super League franchises would come under intense scrutiny of a high-profile seven-member panel which will evaluate the documents till Saturday evening before a formal announcement on Sunday.
According to sources, the panel -- comprising eminent personalities from various fields, including professions such as sports, law, finance and corporate governance experts -- will meet in Mumbai this evening.
"A high-profile seven-member panel will meet today evening to open and evaluate the second and final set of bid documents," the source told PTI.
"The process will get over by Saturday evening and Indian Super League promoters, IMG Reliance officials are expected to make announcement about the eight winners on Sunday," he added.
Cricket legends, Bollywood stars and a host of corporates are in the fray to own teams.
The nine cities in the reckoning are Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune, out of which eight will be shortlisted
Organised by IMG Reliance in association with Star India, the league has the backing of All India Football Federation (AIFF), and is likely to see big names such as ex-Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, former Argentina forward Hernan Crespo and England's Michael Owen.
PTI has learnt that bidders include "two Indian cricket legends, five Bollywood celebrities, three I-League clubs and five corporate entities."
This is being seen as an unrivalled football championship in the country once called 'sleeping giant' by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, and it aims to foster local talent by featuring international stars. Anticipation around the ISL seemed to have been building with the organisers receiving positive response from more than 30 interested parties to its 'Invitation To Bid' tender notice.
The bids closed on March 27.
It is learnt that around 18 to 20 bidders have put in their money on ISL either through forming a consortium or individually. This is for the first time that a franchise property in sports in India has elicited such a response from the business as well as sports and Bollywood community.
IPL, in the year 2007, had 11 bids out of which eight won the franchises. Former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, who is reported to have bid with a consortium having Atletico Madrid in it, has already upped the competition among bidders.
"It would come as a no surprise if one hears similar high- profile international clubs coming over to India as technical partners to the rest of franchises. Ranbir Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham who are reportedly in the fray - are known for their love for the game and their association with certain top international clubs," a source said....