London: A British Sikh entrepreneur has struck a historic partnership for his non-league football team in the UK with Spanish giants Atletico Madrid.
Southall FC owner Channa Singh Gill has signed a deal for coaches from the Spanish side to work with his players, largely comprising of Indian-origin players from the west London suburb of Southall.
"Some of Atletico's star names could be coming to Southall in the near future. If this doesn't get local youngsters interested in football then I don't know what will," he said.
The project is designed to support the production of more Indian-origin footballers in Britain as Atletico are keen to tap into the Indian market, where football's popularity is growing.
The club already co-owns Atletico de Kolkata as part of this global vision.
German Robles Gonzalez, director general of the Atletico Madrid Foundation, visited the area last week and told the 'Evening Standard': "You might think this is a very odd marriage but Atletico is a very forward-thinking club and we work with different partners all over the world.
"I have had a wonderful time in Southall, it has been an extraordinary experience. We believe there is a huge potential for football in this area and I hope that our work is the start of something good."
Formed in 1871, Southall FC have not won any honours since lifting the Middlesex Senior Charity Cup in 1984.
They do not own a ground, playing their home matches in nearby Perivale area of London.