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Indian Super League: The billionaire, Bollywood and future of Indian soccer

A storm could be brewing in India’s top-flight soccer, a glamorous and acrimonious world that encompasses Asia’s richest man, the cream of Bollywood and a self-styled former gangster.

Mukesh Ambani, the billionaire tycoon who commands the Reliance Industries corporate empire that owns the Indian Super League, is facing pushback to his family’s dominance from some executives in the country’s soccer association and clubs.

At stake is the financial future of soccer in a country devoted to cricket. The outcome of the power struggle could also help shape whether India can ever become a world force in the game, realising ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s description of being a “sleeping giant” - and, of course, the big dream: whether it can one day play in or even host a World Cup.

Ambani’s holding group launched the Indian Super League, an elite competition of newly created teams, in 2014 with the aim of attracting investment and big global names, much like the Indian Premier League has in cricket.

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