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Mahesh Bhupathi, Travancore princess and former Benfica player among franchise owners in Super League Kerala

The owners of the six clubs which will play the Super League Kerala in Kochi on May 10.

The owners of the six clubs which will play the Super League Kerala in Kochi on May 10.
| Photo Credit: Stan Rayan

This is a nice bunch, one that includes some very interesting names. The Super League Kerala unveiled its six franchises at a glittering event here on Friday evening and there were many standout names among the owners.

There is the Travancore Princess Gowri Lakshmi Bayi, tennis great Mahesh Bhupathi, former Benfica player and current chairman of Australian A-League club Brisbane Roar FC Kaz Patafta, Director of Kannur International Airport M.P. Hassan Kunhi and many other corporate stars.

Kochi Pipers FC, Thrissur Roar FC, Malappuram FC, Calicut FC, Thiruvananthapuram Kombans FC and Kannur Squad FC are the six clubs which will play the inaugural edition which will start in September.

Mahesh Bhupathi, the CEO of SGSE, the sports and entertainment arm of the APL Apollo Group, which also owns teams in tennis, table tennis and chess leagues is the owner of Pipers while Patafta is among the owners of Roar. Lakshmi Bayi and Sahadulla are the co-owners of Kombans.

The SLK, which will be followed by semifinals and final after the league phase, is planned at three venues: Kochi’s Nehru Stadium, Kozhikode’s EMS Corporation Stadium and at Malappuram’s Payyanad Stadium in Manjeri.

The Kerala Football Association and Scoreline Sports, which will organise the SLK, are trying to get three more stadiums so that all the teams will have their own home ground.

Kerala Sports Minister V Abdurahiman, who attended the event, gave an assurance that the Government would offer all Government-owned grounds for tournaments organised by the KFA.

“Like we have our IT people going abroad for work and like we have our Malayali folks going to the Gulf, this league will help our players go abroad to play for foreign clubs,” said Navas Meeran, the KFA president.

Franchise owners:

Kochi Pipers FC: Mahesh Bhupathi (CEO, SGSE of APL Apollo).

Thrissur Roar FC: Kaz Patafta, Chairman and CEO of Brisbane Roar FC; Benoit Joseph of Magnus Sports and Mohammed Rafeeq of Nusym Technologies.

Kannur Squad FC: M.P. Hassan Kunhi, Director of Kannur International Airport Ltd; Mibu Jose Nettikadan, Managing Director of Castle Group, Doha; Praveesh Kuzhuppilly, Director of Asset Homes and Shameem Backer, promoter of Wayanad FC.

Thiruvananthapuram Kombans FC: Travancore Princess Gowri Lakshmi Bayi; Dr. Mohamed Ilyas Sahadulla, CMD of KIMS Hospital; K. C. Chandrahasan, MD, Kerala Travels, and T.J. Mathews, co-owner, Kovalam FC.

Malappuram FC: V.A. Ajmal Bismi, MD, Bismi Group; Dr. Anvar Ameen Chelat, SAT Tirur FC and Grand Hypermarkets, and Baby Neelambra, President, Saudi Indian Football Forum.

Calicut FC: V.K. Mathews, tech entrepreneur and Chairman, IBS Group.

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