India’s oldest football team forced into merger with rival Jan 17, 2020 0 165 12345 AFPNew DelhiIndia’s oldest and most successful football club merged Thursday with a rival Kolkata side after years of financial trouble, giving a shot in the arm to one of two leagues fighting for dominance in the sport.The deal between the 130-year-old Mohun Bagan club and far younger ATK is a boost for the Indian Super League (ISL) in its battle with the rival I-League.Bagan has been a key I-League team, but the yet-to-be-named merged side will play in the ISL from next season.The ISL, which has now grown to 10 teams, has in six years outstripped the older I-League and its 11 teams in broadcast ratings.The All-India Football Federation wants to make the ISL the top national contest in place of the I-League. Bagan have won four national titles and are in contention for this year’s I-League crown.Atletico Madrid were once part owners of ATK, whose original name was Atletico de Kolkata. Set up as one of the ISL launch teams in 2014, they have won that league’s title once. Officials said the name of the merged club will have elements of each side when launched in June.In 1911 Mohun Bagan became the first Indian-only side to win the national title in a competition that had been dominated by British colonial clubs. It still has a special place in the hearts of Indian fans, but attendances have fallen in recent years and sponsors difficult to find.“As much as we want the romance of the maroon and green jersey and it’s 130-year-old tradition to continue, there comes a time when romance almost invariably requires a partner named practicality,” said Mohun chairman Swapan Sadhan Bose. Pages 1234 RELATED ARTICLES Liverpool take on Man Utd but more eyes on bottom of the table clash Jan 17, 2020 0 102 Mbappe bags 20th goal as PSG thrash Monaco Jan 17, 2020 0 385 Bayern Munich conclude winter training camp in Qatar Jan 17, 2020 0 124 ‘Can’t let this slide’: Anger grows over smoke haze play at Australian Open AFP Melbourne Britain’s Liam Broady Thursday lashed out at Australian Open officials for insisting qualifying take place this week despite toxic smoke from bushfires, telling fellow players: “We can’t let this go.” ..