Bengaluru, November 8: The names were doing the rounds for quite sometime in the Bangalore District Football Association. The body, which manages the football leagues in the city, had received proposals for two new professional clubs for this season's BDFA Super Division League, the premier football competition in Bengaluru. In the end though, after much haggling, only one franchise received the status of a professional club - FC Deccan - for this season's league, starting November 10. But what happened to the other one is more interesting.
"We were approached two months ago for new teams," a BDFA source explained. "We were looking to expand the league and make it more interesting as well as competitive. Many stakeholders had suggested the same. While FC Deccan was keen on owning a team at any cost, this other franchise, who called themselves Motorworld FC, was suspicious from the beginning. The owner, one Naveen Vaidhu, wanted to field a team from this season and he told us that he had his squad ready. After a few rounds of meeting, we subsequently asked him to pay the club fee of Rs 10 lakh. He gave us that too in the form of a cheque three weeks ago. Two days later, the cheque bounced."
BDFA's initial scepticism about having new teams increased further when they got to know another party was a victim of a cheque bounce from the same person. "This club approached us for a training facility way before they knocked on BDFA's doors for a new team," a source in the FSV Arena, one of the city's best artificial turf ground, said. "We told him it would cost Rs 2 lakh a month to train. He (Naveen Vaidhu) signed a cheque and handed it over to us through the coach. Needless to say, the cheque bounced again."
The negotiations with FSV Arena continued though. "We obviously got back to him and told him what happened with the cheque," the source said further. "We told him then that we will accept up front payment only and won't take a cheque again because of what happened. He then paid the amount in the form of an online transfer. We were satisfied then."
However, the BDFA were kept waiting. "We told a representative of the team, a former HAL player called C Ravikumar, that we wanted to meet the owner since his cheque had bounced," the BDFA official said. "This was when Ravikumar produced a demand draft from the owner after the cheque had bounced. He met us and told us of his plans of fielding a good team comprising players from Kolkata's Mohammedan Sporting and Chennai. We were reassured but we were not able to contact him after that. This caused a delay in announcing the fixtures for the Super Division as well."
But what happened to the owner of the team? Some say he was in debt and is absconding to avoid being tracked by the creditors. Few others say he has been kidnapped by his creditors, who will not let him go until they are paid their dues.
"All we know is that he was a former player himself in the Srirampura area," said an agent who had brokered the deal with the FSV Arena. "He might return after a while to reclaim the money that he paid FSV Arena for a facility he did not use. If he returns now, he will be caught by the people who need to be repaid. Technically, they don't have to pay him back since it's like paying rent for a house. It's up to you whether you stay for the entire 30 days or less in the house. But the amount you pay is always for the full month."
The BDFA official said the situation looks bad on the hopeful players who had come down from Kolkata and Chennai. "The worst part is that they were sent back after a few training sessions. The city has lost a team due to reasons we do not know," he said.
Mykhel too has been trying to contact Naveen Vaidhu for the last week, but to no avail.
BDFA and its secretary ST Bhoopalan subsequently announced the fixtures for the Super Division without Motorworld FC's inclusion.