Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar has confirmed he has sold off stakes in Kerala Blasters ahead of the 2018/19 Indian Super League season, starting September 29.
Tendulkar was part of the franchise ever since its inception in 2014. The former India cricket team captain brought star value to one of the most-followed clubs in Indian football.
Nonetheless, ahead of the new season, Tendulkar had to exit as the Blasters underwent a change in ownership. Lulu Group International, which is owned by Kerala-based businessman Yusuff Ali MA, has assumed complete control of the club.
Notably, Lulu Group International bought 80 percent shares from Prasad Group, a Hyderabad-based media and entertainment house, and 20 percent from Tendulkar, according to Goal.
Earlier in 2016, Prasad Group along with Telugu superstar actors Nagarjuna Akkineni and Chiranjeevi had bought 60 percent of shares from PVP Group and another 20 percent from Tendulkar, according to the report.
Tendulkar: Piece of my heart will always beat for Blasters
Tendulkar confirmed that he would end his role as "co-promoter" as he believes the Blasters need to put the building blocks for the next five years with its new association.
Nonetheless, the cricket superstar said a part of his heart would always beat for the Blasters.
"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," Tendulkar said in a statement.
"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.
"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!"
The Blasters, who were runners-up in 2014 and 2016, had missed out on a playoff berth last year. It will be interesting to see how David James, who has already brought in quite a lot of replacements, marshalls his troupe in the upcoming season under new owners.