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Bandits strike sponsorship deal with Mexican football club, change name to Internacional Fútbol Club

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2023. 4:45 pm CST.

Photo Credit: Bandits-Internacional FC

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Belmopan Bandits are changing their name to International Fútbol Club, at least for the remainder of the Premier League of Belize Closing Championship after striking a sponsorship deal with the Mexican club.

Internacional FC is a club from León, Guanajuato in Mexico. The team’s intent is to export players and to get Belizean players to Mexico.

According to Bandits General Manager Kenneth Budna, the sponsorship deal with the Second Division Mexican club Internacional Fútbol Club means the Mexican club will virtually take over the Bandits for the remainder of the season.

“They will take care of everything,” Budna said.

“We keep the rights of the club when it comes to the legal aspect, but apart from that everything is on them. They will deal with the financial issues with the club.”

Budna said that if they hold up to their commitment, the Bandits might want to extend the deal.

Internacional FC announced the deal on their Facebook page saying that they have the support of the Premier League of Belize and the Football Federation of Belize. The club added that they now have good opportunities for their affiliated athletes as they are now officially within the PLB.

Even before the announcement here in Belize, Internacional had been promoting the Bandits games on their social media with their name.

“We are united with the Bandits to make the project grow,” Internacional said in response to a follower’s question if there was expansion in the Premier League of Belize or if the Internacional logo was the new face of Bandits.

For now, Internacional is providing a head coach Juan Manuel Macías Lozano and two players Manuel Ortega Delgado (forward) and Pablo Daniel Vela Becerra (defender). Budna said the two players were here last week along with Internacional’s Technical Director. The players will be returning along with the coach this weekend. Though the PLB doesn’t allow clubs to add new players after the registration period is over, Budna said the two Mexican players were registered at the beginning of the season.

The deal also means the Bandits will change uniforms including their team logo. While they still have red and white, Budna said, their second uniform is full white. The Mexican club’s main colors are red and black and they refer to themselves as ‘Rojinegros’. The Bandits have already been wearing red, white and black.

“They will take care of everything,” Budna said.

“We keep the rights of the club when it comes to the legal aspect, but apart from that everything is on them. They will deal with the financial issues with the club.”

The new coach will take over from coach Shane Orio.

“Shane will still be a part of the coaching staff, but at present Shane doesn’t have the time to actually continue for this closing tournament but hopefully for the next tournament he will be available to work with the coach,” Budna said.

Budna said that negotiations started before the Closing season got underway, but they just struck the deal now for the remainder of the season.

“They want to do it as a long-term project. We can extend the agreement,” Budna said, but added that it will be dependent on the Mexican club delivering on their commitment.

Budna said the Mexican club is interested in purchasing the Bandits franchise.

For now, the Internacional FC Sports Director Jorge Andrés Ruíz Atehortua will be visiting Belize frequently to oversee operations.

Meanwhile, the Bandits first game under the Internacional FC name will be on Saturday against Champions Altitude in Independence.


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