Author : Rohith Nair
Will he soon be celebrating goals in front of Indian crowds?
Brace yourselves, football legends are coming to India. That is if Reliance and IMG have their way, according to Times of India.
With an IPL-style football league all set to start in 2014, eight teams will vie for the signatures of many international stars such as Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Dwight Yorke, Fredrik Ljungberg, Louis Saha and Hernan Crespo.
According to the report; Yorke, Ljungberg, Pires, Crespo and Saha have already been signed while they are still in talks with Owen and Henry. Names like Peter Schmeichel and Marcel Desailly could also be hired as team managers.
The Indian Super League, which is what it may be called, will be a three month long tournament which will be held between January and March next year. Nine venues have been selected and will be up for auction, namely; Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kochi, Pune, Guwahati and Goa. The base price for a franchise is touted to be Rs 25 crore.
Bollywood stars such as Shah Rukh Khan, John Abraham, Ranbir Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan have apparently shown interest in buying franchises.
The tournament will be promoted and broadcasted by Star India in a deal worth around Rs 1,500 crore.
Nita Ambani, the IMG-R chairperson, said, “Having Star on board as a partner strengthens our efforts and commitment to propel Indian football to its rightful place. We see the launch of the football league as the realization of a dream of a billion-plus Indians to experience the most cherished game globally in new ways,”
The CEO of Star India, Uday Shankar said, “India is hungry for its second sport. For far too long, the Indian sports fan has waited for this revolution. Our objective is nothing short of creating a movement around football in India. We want to put India on the global map.”