The Premier League, in conjunction with the Indian Super League, UK Department for International Trade (DIT) and Star Sports, is bringing its first Football Development Week in India to Mumbai.
The Premier League Football Development Week, which starts on Sunday, March 3, is focused on the theme of youth player development and sees representatives from the Premier League, Arsenal FC and Leicester City FC leading workshops, club-to-club training, referee development and forums for ISL clubs and All India Football Federation (AIFF) coaches and executives.
The showpiece event will see 40 youth players from Arsenal and Leicester City play in friendly games against Mumbai City FC and Reliance Foundation Young Champs academy teams. The PL-ISL Youth Games 2019 tournament is the first of its kind being held at Navi Mumbai, bringing together youth teams from the Premier League and the ISL.
Former Premier League player Les Ferdinand – who scored 149 goals in 351 appearances for clubs including Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers – is among the guests in attendance, offering his expertise to Indian youth coaches and players. The Premier League supports the development of football in India at all levels of the game.
The Football Development Week demonstrates different ways the Premier League and its clubs will be providing ongoing support to the ISL, at both a league and club level, to ensure continued professional development of Hero ISL coaches, referees and young players.
Premier League Interim Chief Executive Richard Masters said, “The Premier League works extremely closely with the Hero Indian Super League and other organisations to support the growth of football in India.”
“This Football Development Week will build on our existing partnerships and provide a great opportunity for our clubs to share their knowledge with coaches and young players from across India. I have no doubt the activities will benefit all involved and contribute to the continued progression of the game both on and off the pitch.”
Sundar Raman, CEO, Reliance Sports, added, “We reckon the Football Development Week will aid the knowledge sharing platform for both Premier League and Hero Indian Super League clubs. We are very excited to kick start the new youth development initiative, PL-ISL Youth Games, starting this year with Arsenal and Leicester City academy teams coming over to play with Mumbai City and our own RF Young Champs.”
The UK’s Department for International Trade is supporting the week as part of its great initiative.
Crispin Simon, HM Trade Commissioner, South Asia and Deputy High Commissioner, Mumbai, said, “I am delighted that the Premier League are bringing two excellent youth teams to play against Indian youth teams. This fosters a spirit of competition and collaboration between the two leagues. The partnership agreement between the two leagues will also go a long way in supporting the growth of the sport in our two countries. The UK Government is happy to support such initiatives that bring mutual benefit. We will continue to work with sporting leagues, businesses and government departments to help drive further collaboration with the Indian sports sector.”