Benfica, QPR keen to launch a club in next I-league?
The All India Football Federaton (AIFF) has postponed its second and final ‘investors’ meet’ from March 31 to April 6. The meet will take place in Dubai as it was previously scheduled. This time, the AIFF is trying to invite some of the world’s legendary football clubs like Manchester United, FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the Dubai meet. Around 32 corporate houses including Sahara Group and Venky’s Group, the owner of Blackburn Rovers, attended the first Federation-organized ‘investors meet’ held in New Delhi on March 5.
According to the AIFF, it has officially finished its information procedure to the European clubs only a week ago. So, the Federation has not yet received any response from those renowned foreign clubs on whether or not they are sending their representatives to the Dubai meet.
But the AIFF might have been inspired by the news that two of world football’s top clubs have reportedly expressed desire to enter Indian football by launching franchise clubs in the next edition of the I-league. The clubs are Benfica FC from Portugal and Queens Parks Rangers (QPR) from England.
A top executive from the Federation revealed on condition of anonymity that Air Asia, a major partner of QPR, has decided to launch its air service in India soon. As AIFF president Praful Patel has a good relationship with the Air Asia top brass, it has been learnt that following the Federation president’s insistence, Air Asia has agreed to attend the Dubai meet on April 6. Even the company itself is planning to launch a football club based in Chennai.
Apart from this, the AIFF president is also trying to convince his non-resident friends related to football in Dubai to attend the investors’ meet. According to Federation officials, a representative from Dubai’s Al-Itihad Club may also attend the meet.
The AIFF has planned to issue the tender notice a week after the Dubai meet and sort out the final two corporate clubs by April third week.
Incidentally, the Indian senior national team, after playing a friendly international match against Costa Rica on May 26, may play against Malta and Scotland in its next two international friendly matches on June 7 and on June 11. The national team’s international friendly matches are being organized by Kolkata based sports management group Celebrity Management Group (CMG). CMG had even offered the Indian team an international friendly against the Netherlands senior national squad. But the India’s senior national coach Wim Koevermans rejected the offer.