Bengaluru Football Club is an Indian professional football club based in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The club competes in one of the top leagues of Indian football, the Indian Super League under license from All India Football Federation (AIFF). The club was established on 20 July 2013, and began their first competitive season in the I-League a few months later on 22 September 2013. Since their foundation, the club has won two I-league titles, including one in their debut season, two Federation Cup titles, one Indian Super League title and a Super Cup championship. They are the current champions of the 2018–19 Indian Super League season defeating FC Goa in the final.
|Full name||Bengaluru Football Club|
|Founded||20 July 2013|
|Ground||Sree Kanteerava Stadium|
|Head coach||Carles Cuadrat|
|League||Indian Super League|
|2018–19||Regular season: 1st of 10|
The club is owned and operated by the Mumbai–based JSW Group and its managing director Sajjan Jindal. Bengaluru have played every home match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium since the beginning of the 2014–15 season. Despite only playing four seasons in the I-League, the club were considered one of the model clubs of Indian football. Bengaluru drew praise for bringing a new sense of professionalism to Indian football, including the use of on field equipment meant to help player fitness. The club is also known for their fan base, including the supporters group, West Block Blues, which has gained a reputation for being one of the most vocal and passionate fan bases in India.
Bengaluru played its inaugural match on 22 September 2013, earning a 1–1 draw against Mohun Bagan in the league. The club would go on to win the I-League in their debut season and then again two seasons later in 2015–16. As well as two league titles, Bengaluru also won two Federation Cups in 2015 and 2017. Between 2015 and 2018, the club also represented India in Asian club competition, competing in the AFC Cup for four consecutive years. During the 2016 AFC Cup, Bengaluru made it to the final where they lost 1–0 to Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya of Iraq.
From 2017–2018 season, Bengaluru FC joined Indian Super League and won their maiden title in 2018–19 season defeating FC Goa 1–0 in the final which was held on 17 March 2019. On September 28, 2019 Bengaluru FC announced partnership with the Scottish club Rangers.
Around the beginning of January 2013, word managed to get out about whether Mumbai Tigers (then Dodsal) had failed to register for the upcoming I-League 2nd Division. It was also rumored that the club could instead enter the I-League, India's top football league, directly through a cash payment to the All India Football Federation (AIFF), India's football association, and if the club promised to create a new football stadium. Later that month, on 12 January, it was announced that the AIFF had called for an executive meeting to decide whether to allow teams into the I-League directly for the 2013–14 season. At around the same time, uncertainty started to arise over whether institutional clubs Air India or ONGC and then-suspended Mohun Bagan would be allowed to play in the league that season.
During the AIFF executive meeting on 15 January, it was officially announced that the federation would be accepting bids from corporate groups for two new direct-entry clubs for the 2013–14 season. This was being done in an effort to make the I-League more pan-Indian. The bidding corporate groups could only bid to create teams outside of Kolkata and Goa and they would have to create new infrastructure in their city. The winning bids would be announced in March 2013 and they would be replacements for Air India and ONGC.
On 8 March 2013, it was reported that JSW Group were interested in bidding for a spot in the I-League after contemplating making a team in Bangalore in the past. It was also reported that AR Khaleel, the President of the Karnataka State Football Association and a senior official with the AIFF, had suggested Bangalore could be a host venue for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup and that a corporate team in the city could help build new infrastructure. A couple of months later, on 15 May 2013, it was announced that the AIFF had received three bids for two direct-entry spots. The bids came from JSW Group, Dodsal Group, and a consortium from Kerala.
Finally, on 28 May 2013, it was officially announced that JSW Group had won the rights to form a direct-entry team for the 2013–14 I-League season in Bangalore and that it would be done through their sports branch, JSW Sports. It was also announced that JSW Group would set up a youth academy in Bangalore, as well as brand new infrastructure. Two months later, on 20 July, JSW Group launched the club officially as "Bengaluru Football Club" while hosting a mega launch event at the Bangalore Football Stadium, which was also announced as the club's home stadium for the upcoming season. Along with the club name and stadium, the club crest and colours were also unveiled as well as the team's home kit for the season and the squad.
Ashley Westwood era (2013–2016)
Straight away after winning the rights for a direct-entry side, JSW Group began the process of creating their team. The club's first signing was midfielder Thoi Singh from Mumbai Tigers. On 2 July 2013, it was announced that former Blackburn Rovers assistant manager Ashley Westwood would become the club's first ever head coach. A few weeks later, on 16 July, JSW Group signed the club's first two foreign players, defenders John Johnson and Curtis Osano. Three days later, it was announced that the club had signed the India national team captain, Sunil Chhetri, from Sporting Portugal B.
After the club launched, on 25 August 2013, Bengaluru played their first ever match, a friendly against the India national team during their preparations for the upcoming 2013 SAFF Championship. The match ended 1–1 with Johnny Menyongar scoring Bengaluru's first goal and future Bengaluru player Lenny Rodrigues scoring India's equalizer. A month later, on 22 September 2013, the club played their first official match in the I-League against Mohun Bagan at the Bangalore Football Stadium. After a scoreless first-half, Bengaluru scored their first ever official goal in the 49th minute through Sean Rooney. However, in injury time, Mohun Bagan found an equalizer through Chinadorai Sabeeth to end the match 1–1. It took until their next match though for Bengaluru to win their first match when they defeated Rangdajied United 3–0 at the Bangalore Football Stadium.
The club played their first match away from home on 26 October 2013 against East Bengal at the Kalyani Stadium. The match would also turn out to be the first defeat for Bengaluru as they fell 2–0 to the Kolkata based side. Exactly a month later, on 26 November, the club would win their first away match against Salgaocar at the Duler Stadium. Bengaluru won 2–1.
In January 2014, Bengaluru took part in their first domestic cup competition, the Federation Cup. They played their first match in the tournament on 15 January 2014 against Sporting Goa at the Manjeri Stadium. Bengaluru won 5–3 but would then go on to draw and lose one match each as they would be knocked out in the group stage of the tournament.
During the 2014–15 season, Bengaluru participated in the Federation Cup again. They claimed their first cup on 11 January 2015, defeating Dempo in the final 2–1. Despite the cup victory and entering the season as defending league champions, Bengaluru could not reclaim the I-League title as the club lost it on the last day of the season. They drew against Mohun Bagan in their last game 1–1 and thus gave Bagan the title. However, despite losing the title, Bengaluru did end the season with a 13-match unbeaten run. Besides playing in the league and cup, Bengaluru also participated in Asian club competition for the first time. The club failed the qualify for the AFC Champions League but they did manage to reach the Round of 16 for the AFC Cup.
The next season, Bengaluru managed to win their second I-League title. They defeated Salgaocar 2–0 at home on 17 April 2016 to confirm the league. The club was also able to advance further in the AFC Cup this season, reaching the quarter-finals of the AFC Cup after defeating Kitchee 3–2 in the Round of 16. However, despite the club's achievement, Ashley Westwood and club decided to part ways at the end of the season.
Albert Roca Era and transition to Indian Super League (2016–2018)
Bengaluru FC appointed former FC Barcelona assistant coach Albert Roca as the head coach for two seasons. In his first game in charge of the club, Bengaluru FC won 1–0 against Tampines Rovers in the first leg of the quarter-finals of the AFC Cup, 2016. Subsequently, it went on to become the third Indian team to qualify for the semi-finals of the tournament. Under Roca, on 19 October 2016 Bengaluru FC became the first Indian team to qualify for the finals of the AFC Cup by defeating defending champions Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C. 3–1 at home in the 2nd leg of the semi-finals. On 5 November, Bengaluru F.C. competed against the Iraqi outfit Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya in the finals of the 2016 AFC Cup finals at the Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium in Qatar. However, Bengaluru emerged as runners-up- being defeated by Al Quwa by a narrow margin of 1–0. Bengaluru FC became the first Indian football club to reach the finals of the competition. However, the first I-League under Roca wasn't as successful, as Bengaluru FC managed only fourth position, the lowest since 2013, in 2016–17 I-League after the winless streak of seven games between January and February 2017. The club won their second Federation Cup title under Albert Roca in 2017 defeating Mohun Bagan 2–0 in the final. The club also managed to reach Inter-zonal final in 2017 AFC Cup.
Colours and badge
Unveiled during the 21 July JSW launch, the crest features the Bangalore Palace coloured in white in order to symbolize "victory" from when the Wodeyars won the palace back. The pride, resilience, and bravery of the people of Bengaluru is represented by a picture of a blue Gandaberunda – a mythical two-headed bird that is said to possess magical might – in the middle of the crest. The use of the Gandaberunda is from the coat of arms for the state of Karnataka and is the symbol of the state. On 24 January 2015, Bengaluru revealed Eddie The Eagle as its official mascot.
Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bengaluru FC kits.|
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor|
In July 2014, Bengaluru signed a deal with Puma as their official kit sponsors from the 2014–15 season. Bengaluru FC's parent company, JSW Group were principal sponsors of the team from inception till 2018. In 2018, Benglauru FC signed four-year deal with South Korean motor company Kia Motors as the principal sponsors.
Bengaluru FC played all its matches in the first season at the Bangalore Football Stadium which was located in the heart of the city. The West stand was the largest and could accommodate the maximum number of people. The West stand also housed the VIP boxes during I-League and other major matches. During the launch of the club, it was announced that the team would play at the Bangalore Football Stadium for the 2013–14 I-League season. The Bangalore Football Stadium was a 15,000 capacity football stadium which used astroturf.
From the 2014–15 season the club started playing their matches at the 24,000 capacity Sree Kanteerava Stadium. There are 8 entrances to the stadium, of which five are for public, one for the VIPs, one for stadium officials and one for players. There are a total of 9 stands used for Bengaluru FC matches. West Block A stand is the largest stand in the stadium and is home to the vociferous West Block Blues. Due to criticisms with the pitch in the earlier stadium, the new stadium decided to do away with astroturf and instead adopted natural grass. All stands except the North Stand have permanent seating. Due to Bengaluru FC's impressive home record, the Sree Kanteerva stadium is often referred to as 'The fortress' by its fans.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Reserves and academy
Current technical staff
Head Coach (reserve team)
Bengaluru FC is reputed for one of the most vocal fanbases in India. The fans are known as the West Block Blues, named such after West Block A in the Bangalore Football Stadium. The players and the coach have often acknowledged the fans' support in the success and called them The 12th Man.
|2014–15||I-League||11||2||Winner||AFC Champions League||Preliminary Round 1|
|AFC Cup||Round of 16|
|2016–17||I-League||10||4||Winner||AFC Champions League||Preliminary Round 2|
|AFC Cup||Interzonal Finalist|
|2017–18||ISL||10||League – 1st
Playoffs – Runner-up
|Winner||AFC Cup||Interzonal Semi-finalist|
|2018–19||ISL||10||League – 1st
Playoffs – Winner
Performance in AFC competitions
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