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Leave Maoism, learn football

kolkata Updated: Jun 22, 2010 01:46 IST
Soumen Datta

The West Bengal government is planning to send promising young footballers in three Maoist-infested districts to Germany to be trained by soccer club Bayern Munich.

This is a bid to wean them away from the rebels, who have a strategy to rope young people in by casting a spell on them.

DGP Bhupinder Singh said: “We have decided to organise football matches in Maoist-dominated areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia to separate the common people from ultra influence.”

“The best players will be sent at government expense to Germany to train with Bayern Munich,” Singh said.

Bayern Munich was the European club champion four times — thrice from 1974 to 1976 and again in 2001.

Former German goalkeeper and national captain Oliver Kahn, who played for Bayern Munich, had visited Kolkata in May 2008.

Bayern Munich wanted to set up a football complex in Burdwan.

Singh said: “After the matches the participants will be served a meal. After all, food is one of the reasons that took the youth towards the Maoists.”

Over the past decade, the Kolkata Police have been organising such tournaments in different localities of the city to foster good relations with people.

However, police officials in West Midnapore district are sceptical of the plan.

“It is possible that the matches will held and sumptuous meals organised, but those who take part will be bashed up by the rebels,” said an official posted near Jhargram.