The prospect of English Premier Leagues training in India has come more closure to reality than ever before as hosting the FIFA Under-17 World Cup has boosted the country’s image. The ongoing FIFA event has strengthened India’s footprint on the world football map. This will give a much needed boost to the confidence of EPL clubs, who in the past too have evaluated the prospects of training in India.
Richard Masters, EPL’s managing director has said that hosting the U-17 World Cup will certainly help in putting India on the global football map. There is “every possibility” of top English Premier League clubs touring India for pre-season games in the near future, said Masters, according to national news agency PTI.
“The popularity of the Premier League and its clubs continues to grow globally and clubs are always considering new countries to visit. There is every possibility that they could come to India in the future,” Masters said.
Earlier this year, the EPL promised to help India grow as a footballing nation with its executive chairman Richard Scudamore saying that the world’s most glamorous soccer league was taking initiatives towards this endeavour. Hosting the U-17 World Cup, the country’s first FIFA tournament, will certainly help in putting India on the global football map, Richard had said.
“We know from the work that we do with the ISL and the AIFF that there is a huge amount going in to support football development at all levels in India.
“Hosting the FIFA U17 World Cup will be another step in putting India on the global football stage and will hopefully inspire more talented youngsters to play and take an interest in the sport,” he said.
The EPL is aware of the popularity the league enjoys in India. “It is great to see the continued growth in popularity of football in India and the success of the Indian Super League. Premier League clubs have a growing and committed fan base in India and we enjoy keep coming back to engage with them. We work very closely with the ISL and the AIFF to support the development of football in India, and to use interest in the Premier League to support the domestic game,” Richard added.
Premiership clubs are known for pulling off some of the biggest signings in the world, precisely the reason it is flooded with a dazzling array of talent. “In the Premier League we are blessed to have some of the most popular and exciting clubs in the world in our competition. They do a fantastic job by developing and acquiring talented and exciting players – the likes of Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku to name a few – and that drives the interest in our clubs in India and across the world.”
Masters will be in Bengaluru for the Premier League International Fan Park, which is being held in the Garden City over the weekend. “Premier League Live Bengaluru will be a fantastic event for local fans. They will have the opportunity to come together to watch the weekend’s Premier League action on a giant screen, and to try fun and interactive experiences that will bring them closer to their favourite clubs,” opined.
“There will be sprint zones, skills zones, a Premier League Trophy tour bus and new virtual reality technology that will enable fans to see and feel the buzz and excitement of a Premier League match day. We know from previous fan parks in India that local fans will enjoy the passion and excitement of the Premier League across the weekend.”
If the FIFA U-17Finals have laid a strong foundation for structural growth of football in the country, EPL clubs making India one of their training destinations will further intensify this growth process and open a window of opportunities for the sport and those play it in India.