New Delhi: In an initiative to raise
football profile in the country, All India Football Federation
is planning to bring top European clubs, including Barcelona,
Chelsea and Manchester United, for an eight-team tournament in
July next year.
Delhi and Kolkata are likely to host the matches -- four
games each -- with the final to be played at the revamped
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Capital.
Liverpool and FC Porto are also expected to be part of
the tournament, with a club from the Middle East and the
winner of the I-League completing the line-up.
A final decision on the eight teams -- except for
I-League champions -- will be taken in a meeting in November,
a top AIFF official said.
Modi Fabrics, a Mumbai-based company, with whom the AIFF
had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), will
coordinate the event.
"Yash Kohli of Modi Fabrics will be coordinating the
event," the official said.
"The tournament is to be held in July and some European
clubs are likely to be part of it. An MOU, in this regard, has
already been signed with Modi group," he said.
"Things like fixtures and logistics related to the
tournament will be discussed in the November meeting," he
European clubs, including Manchester United and Arsenal,
have been investing in Indian market for some time now in some
way or the other.
The Red Devils inked a five-year deal with Airtel last
year, through which its customers get exclusive content, such
as video clips of premiership matches, UEFA Champions League
highlights and wallpapers of popular United players.
Premier League giants Chelsea had recently said that they
are closely watching the Indian market to find like-minded
"We want to enter the Indian market with grassroots level
engagement. Chelsea FC does not want to come to India just to
play a match as we are committed to development of football in
this country," Ben Wells, Chelsea head of marketing, said
while speaking at the International Football Arena round table
First Published: Monday, September 13, 2010, 19:34