India - The coming force in World football


Given how shit their cricketers are at the moment, the Indians seem to be getting into the oul soccerball. Should be interesting to see how the bookmakers there fix these games. I listened to a doco on the radio the other day about corruption in world sport and one of the experts was saying how its estimated that 70% of Chinese league games are fixed. Nicholas Anelka should go well there.

From the SMH:Veteran stars help India launch football league

Robert Pires … one of the football stars taking part in the Indian league. Photo: Getty Images
India is hoping to boost the popularity of football by launching a new league featuring veteran players like Robert Pires and Fabio Cannavaro.
A six-team league - modelled in part on cricket’s successful Indian Premier League - is set to begin next month, and will also feature former Liverpool forward Robbie Fowler and Argentina’s Hernan Crespo alongside local talent.
The league is organised by Celebrity Management Group, which has signed a 30-year agreement with the Kolkata-based Indian Football Association to run the event.
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“We have planned a tournament that is tailor-made for Indian fans,” Bhaswar Goswami, executive director of CMG told The Associated Press by telephone.
“Indians are crazy about big names and we will give them the opportunity to see top stars in action.”
The inaugural tournament will be played in the eastern state of West Bengal from February 25 to April 8. Organisers hope the competition will attract fans who follow European clubs because of the lack of good domestic teams.
Like in the IPL, the league will hold an auction where the teams can bid for players, with each franchise allowed a budget of $US2.5 million ($2.4 million) in the first year, Goswami said.
Each team will be allowed to have up to four foreign players and a foreign coach. Other players who have signed up include former Spanish striker Fernando Morientes, Portugal’s Maniche and Argentine defender Juan Pablo Sorin.
“We’ve been planning this league for over 18 months. We’ve signed some players and are in the process of signing several others,” Goswami said.
“The format will ensure that our players get to interact with top players and coaches, which will help rejuvenate our own football.”
Though India’s national football team are ranked 162nd by FIFA, they qualified for the 2011 Asian Cup by winning a competition for second-tier nations and also reached the second round of Asian qualifying for the 2014 World Cup before losing to the United Arab Emirates.
National body All India Football Federation, which runs its own competition called the I-League, has also managed to bring in big money to the game lately.
IMG-Reliance - a partnership between IMG Worldwide and Indian company Reliance Industries Ltd - signed a 15-year, $US140 million ($136 million) deal in 2010 for all commercial rights to the game in the country, aiming to promote and market football from the grassroots level to the top.
Foreign clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich have also been organising activities and planning academies in the country to try to increase their fan base in the cricket-crazy country of 1.2 billion.

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