London: English Premier League club Crystal Palace has reportedly teamed up with the Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Mumbai City FC to stage a trial for the best 16-19 year-olds in India.
Young Indian footballers are reportedly set to compete for the chance to train with Palace at the club's academy in a groundbreaking initiative, as the English club teamed up with Mumbai City FC, managed by former England international Peter Reid and featuring former Palace midfielder Andre Moritz, and Star Sports, Asia's leading sports TV network, to stage a trial for the best 16-19 year-olds in the region.
That trial would take place on Thursday December 11 and the 12 most promising youngsters would then be invited to show their skills at Barclays Premier League Live, in front of thousands of spectators in Mumbai, including Liverpool hero Robbie Fowler and former Manchester United keeper Peter Schmeichel, The Mirror reported.
Palace would reportedly be sending a delegation, led by club ambassador and former striker Mark Bright, to Barclays Premier League Live, the Premier League's international fan park.
And the winner of the Play for Palace trial would then be invited to London to train with the club's academy, which has developed a host of Premier League talent in recent years, including Nigeria international Victor Moses and England duo Nathaniel Clyne and Wilfred Zaha.
Bright, who scored more than 100 goals during his Palace career, said that this would be the chance of a lifetime, as the winner of the competition would get a fantastic experience playing at the Academy and then go back to India to become an ambassador for Palace.
He said that this is a unique initiative, adding that everyone has a favourite local team and favourite overseas team, and they want football fans in India to follow them.
Bright said that they know cricket is the number one sport in India, but football is global and it would be great to see an Indian-born player in the Premier League one day. He added that they would become an idol and an inspiration.
Palace chief executive Phil Alexander said that they are very excited to be going to India to show themselves to a new army of fans. He added that the Premier League is booming in India and it's a great chance for them to extend the club's reach.