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    Baichung, Ganguly back Premier League Soccer

    Kolkata: Premier League Soccer (PLS) is no EPL (English Premier League) or IPL (Indian Premier League) but the Indian tournament promises all the thrills and frills, bringing in football icon Baichung Bhutia and former Indian cricket skipper Sourav Ganguly on board.

    The Barasat franchise at the world players' auctions on Monday announced that Baichung will be their brand ambassador, while according to the buzz in the sports fraternity the 'Prince of Kolkata' will cheer for Kolkata franchise.

    Debojit Choudhury, Managing Director of Corporate Relationz who handles the Barasat franchise, told PTI that they have signed up Baichung as their brand ambassador.

    "Yes Bhutia will be our brand ambassador. We will bring soccer fiesta to Barasat Stadium with Bhutia and (Hernan) Crespo in action together," Choudhury told PTI.

    Barasat team, who will be known as Euro Musketeers, have bought the Argentine star Crespo for a whopping USD 840,000, while Icelandic Teitur Thordarson will be their coach after being bought for USD 210,000.

    Camelia Group, who bought the Kolkata franchise, were yet to reveal their plans but it is indicated that cricket icon Ganguly will be their star attraction along with English stars Peter Reid (coach) and Robbie Fowler (icon player).

    Nil Ratan Dutta, CMD of Camelia Group, said, "We are in talks with some stars. We will announce once we formalise everything. But being the Kolkata franchise, we promise to offer the best of entertainment and action."

    PLS will have no Manchester United but there will be Manchester Howrah, the official name of the Howrah team.

    Deepti Sharma of the Howrah franchise said the love for Manchester United is evident everywhere.

    "We wanted the MU flavour to be in our team and hence we have named our side as Manchester Howrah," Deepti told reporters.

    Barasat is the costliest of the six teams as the team with a base price of Rs 80 lakh was sold for a whopping Rs 25.15 crore to Uro Infra Reality India.

    The next-costliest franchise was Siliguri (Aajay Consultants for Rs 18 crore), followed by Kolkata (Camelia Group for Rs 11.5 crore).

    Durgapur (Tulip Infonet for Rs 7.6 crore) and Howrah (Syncsys Infotech) for Rs nine crore were the other franchises sold out for a 10-year contracts.

    However, Haldia found no takers with a base tag of Rs 70 lakh. But the organisers maintained that they were in talks with two parties who would be unveiled soon.

    A rip-off from the hugely successful and money-spinning Indian Premier League Twenty20, PLS is a brainchild of Celebrity Management Group which, along with state football Association (IFA), is organising the tournament in an attempt to cash in on the football frenzy in the state.

    The tournament is expected to be kicked off in the first week of March.