Chelsea and Vision India

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It is good news for Indian youngsters who live the dream of making it big in the world of professional football. English Premiership giants Chelsea FC are all set to join hands with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to develop the Vision India Project whereby they will establish youth academies in India for the development and nurture of the growing youth talent.

It is known for a fact that AFC President Mohammed Bin Hammam met Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon recently to discuss the extension of aid and support to Vision India from Les Blues. Chelsea have entered into a four year contract with the AFC to become the confederation’s official development partner in the People’s Republic of China, thereby helping them in launching leagues in five Chinese cities.

Under Vision India, Chelsea will directly be involved with development projects in the states of Manipur, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where Vision India has already taken shape and been launched. What is surprising is that Chelsea chose to ignore the home of Indian Football – Kolkata. Chelsea intend to organise school leagues and city leagues and they are expected to send their coaches, training staff and sporting directors to identify talented Indian youth. Similar to the one in China, Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich is to invest upto $1 million in the Vision India project.

Chelsea played a pivotal role in China in the development of the city leagues in Qingdao, Wuhan, Nanjing, Chengdu and Zibo. They are believed to have spotted some youngsters who they have relocated to their esteemed academy in West London for advanced training and eventual entry into the Chelsea reserves. Chelsea plan to set up workshops in India to get close to the local community and the media to intimate and explain essential concepts. This could also be yet another marketing move from under the tycoon Abramovich’s sleeve, only time will tell.

For now, we can only sit back and watch, believe what we read and hear, for such European powerhouses are known to make a foray into the Third World countries with a marketing aim, importing youth and finally leaving them to rot in the lower divisions. AIFF General Secretary Alberto Colaco hopes otherwise and states, “It’s an encouraging development for Indian Football.” Colaco added, “We had a preliminary discussion with the Chelsea officials and we also made a presentation before them.” We sure hope this will do Indian Football some good after FIFA President provided the AIFF with financial aid, or did he?

Joydeep Roy

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