India's cricketing god, Sachin Tendulkar has decided to end his four-year long association with Kerala Blasters after selling off his stake and stepping down as the co-promoter of the Indian Super League (ISL) club.
Sachin, who has been with the club ever since the inception of the league in 2014, announced his decision weeks ahead of the ISL 2018/19 season. In a statement released regarding his exit from the club, the former Indian opener said, "In its fifth year, it is important that the club puts the building blocks for the next five years and beyond. It is also a time for me to reflect on the role that I should play. After reflecting and much discussion with my team, I have decided to exit my association with Kerala Blasters as a co-promoter."
"I strongly believe that Kerala Blasters is in very good shape and on its path to attain many more successes with the backing of its fans offering unconditional support. I am very proud of Kerala Blasters and a piece of my heart will always beat for the club," he added.
The 'Master Blaster' was one of the two former Indian cricketers, apart from Sourav Ganguly, with stake in an ISL club. In his four years, Kerala Blasters reached the final in 2014 and 2016.
"Over the last four years, Kerala Blasters Football Club has been an integral part of my life. I have undergone all the emotions that millions of Kerala Blasters fans have undergone during this period. My association with Kerala Blasters was driven with the intent to reignite the passion for the game and give the many fans and the abundant talent in Kerala, a national platform to express themselves. It has been a thrilling experience to chase this pursuit and something which I will always cherish," the cricketing legend further mentioned in the statement.
The fifth season of ISL will kickstart on September 29, with ATK taking on Kerala Blasters. Initially, the tournament had eight teams -- ATK, Chennaiyin, Delhi Dynamos, Goa, Kerala Blasters, Mumbai City, NorthEast United and Pune City . But the success of the competition in the first three seasons meant that in 2017, two more teams, Bengaluru and Jameshedpur, were added to the roster. ATK and Chennaiyan FC are the most successful teams in the history of the tournament, having won the league twice each.