Inter Kashi is the latest Indian professional football club launched in partnership with a top European club.

Based in Varanasi, Inter Kashi becomes the first national-level football club from India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh.

Kolkata-based RDB Group of Companies have partnered with La Liga outfit Atlético de Madrid, Andorran football club Inter Escaldes, and Gerard Pique-owned FC Andorra to launch Inter Kashi.

“Atlético de Madrid has reached an agreement with the RDB Group of Companies to collaborate in its project to create the first national football club in the State of Uttar Pradesh, which will be based in Varanasi,” the club said in a statement.

Atlético de Madrid were previously the co-owners of the now-defunct Indian Super League (ISL) club Atletico de Kolkata. 

The Spanish top-division side collaborated with the Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd – a consortium comprising former India cricketer Sourav Ganguly, businessmen Sanjiv Goenka, Utsav Parekh and Harshavardhan Neotia to create Atletico de Kolkata in 2014.

Meanwhile, Inter Kashi has shown strong ambition to compete in the I-League, India’s second-division football league.

Inter Kashi with four others have already submitted bids to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for participation in the I-League from the 2023-24 season.

“The new club is managing the final permits to compete from September in the second division of Indian football, the Hero I-League, while it is already drawing up the first team squad,” Atlético de Madrid said in a statement. 

Atlético de Madrid will be aiming to contribute its vast footballing knowledge and experience to get Inter Kashi up and running from the grassroot level onwards to all sporting activities of the first team and beyond. 

Furthermore, they also aim to create the Atlético de Bharat Academy to nurture talents from the state, which is something previous generations of players from Uttar Pradesh was deprived off as they had to search for clubs from other states to develop their talent. 

Spaniard Carlos Santamarina has been appointed the head coach of Inter Kashi. Santamarina comes with previous experience of managing in the Indian football circuit having been an academy manager for Jamshedpur FC as well as the renowned Tata football academy.

The Indian football league system will witness a change from the 2023-24 season with the promotion of I-League sides to the ISL, which is India’s premier football competition. 

RoundGlass Punjab, the reigning I-League champions, have already earned promotion and will compete in the upcoming ISL 2023-24 season.

Photo credit: Alamy