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English clubs' pre-season in India a real possibility: EPL

By Abhishek Hore

New Delhi, Oct 13 (PTI) There is "every possibility" of top English Premier League clubs touring India for pre-season games in the near future, says EPL's managing director Richard Masters, adding to the frenzy around the revival of football in the country.

"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.

He said hosting the U-17 World Cup, the country's first FIFA tournament, will certainly help in putting India on the global football map.

"We know from the work that we do with the ISL and the AIFF that there is a huge amount going on 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."

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."

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 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.

Asked about it, he said, "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.

"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

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