Minerva Academy Owns 90 Per Cent Stake in Delhi FC: Details of the Takeover
Ranjit Bajaj has entered Delhi football. On Thursday, it was announced that Minerva Academy and Delhi FC have entered a "partnership with an aim to develop the sport in the national capital region."
Earlier, Minerva academy had an I-League team Minerva Punjab FC, which was renamed as Punjab FC last season with Roundglass taking over the club. Following the end of the previous season, Ranjit Bajaj stepped aside from Punjab FC and took back Minerva academy, to now enter into the world of Delhi football.
Minerva academy has taken a 90 per cent stake in Delhi FC and Ranjit Bajaj is set to be "running the show".
"I will be hands on and will be running the show completely. I will be making Delhi trips weekly and hopefully once things open up after coronavirus, it will be even more frequent. We will set up U-13, U-15 and U-18 academy and camps thereafter but till then I will be everywhere.
"In Delhi FC, I am there as a director while in Minerva academy, I am as a founder. In Minerva, we are concentrating on U-11s and here, from the age of 11 to senior team. We have a complete pathway with both academies together," Bajaj said during an exclusive conversation with .
Delhi FC already has a ground and 7-a-side and 5-a-side football fields in Dwarka and with Minerva entering the scene, Bajaj will be refurbishing the ground.
Bajaj told that the club has already bought a whole building close to the ground, which has 18 bedrooms. They have also entered into a tie-up with the Airforce Academy in Palam, from where food will be provided, meaning they "don't have to set up a mess".
Bajaj said the building of the urinal facilities and fencing along the ground has already begun. The plan is to build dugouts and dressing rooms as well.
"Even if the academy starts by next year, we are okay with it. We're in it for the long haul," Bajaj said.
The Delhi FC team will be playing in the Delhi League and will be looking to play the I-League second division qualifiers next season.
Bajaj said he is making all the investment from his own pocket because he believes it will "come back to me ten folds".
"If I am able to show the corporates that we are able to do well and if we perform well, we are hoping to pick up sponsorships. I am sure I will be able to do that. I know how to get them involved."
Football Delhi president Shaji Prabhakaran said he has only had a brief conversation with Bajaj about how he is looking to take Delhi FC forward. He said Bajaj was looking to have more local players and will hold trials once the restrictions due to Covid-19 ease down.
"He thinks this way, the operational cost will be in control. He will not be starting any residential facilities immediately and bringing players from outside requires accommodation facilities, which will make the cost go high," Prabhakaran said to .
According to Prabhakaran, Delhi has at least two to three club takeovers every year and this time, it is a big news because of the involvement of Bajaj.
"I see it as a good addition to Delhi football because he has experience. He will add the competitiveness in the league, which will motivate other teams also. He will push the bar because people will have expectations from him also. So, I see this move as a positive move. Him coming may make others come as well, which is how you can challenge the status quo."