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Man United, AIFF tread carefully on Goa academy

sports Updated: Feb 06, 2009 12:47 IST
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Manchester United are not in a hurry. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Bharti group, too do not want to rush things as far as the proposed academy in Cuncolim, Goa is concerned.

"All parties are waiting for mutual agreement. They (United) want to go through a process before making any commitment to the academy because it's a long term thing," a source told HT on Thursday after the two-day meeting between top officials of the Premier League club, the AIFF and Bharti at the AIFF headquarters here..

"Things are still in the discussion stage and they are trying to work out all available options. Nothing concrete really evolved but yes, a lot of brainstorming did take place," he said.

This means that there would be further deliberations between the parties before an agreement is reached.

Brian McClair, director of the Manchester United academy, Steve Jones, business head of the academy, and consultant Bell Hopps represented the club while general secretary Alberto Colaco and national coach Bob Houghton represented the AIFF in the meeting that also included an official from Bharti.

"They are interested but there are other things like exploring possibilities and to assigning clear cut roles," he said.

"They are looking into a lot of aspects as this is not just about setting up an academy in association with Man United. Development at the grass root level and the national team are also related," the source said.

"Basically, discussions were held on how Indian football could associate itself with Manchester United," he added.

While Colaco made a detailed presentation of the AIFF's activities on Wednesday, United officials spoke of the set-up at Old Trafford. They also shared their experience of the pilot project in Goa last year.

McClair, a legend, spent a major part of his playing career with United and played a stellar role in Alex Ferguson's boys' twin FA Cup wins in the nineties.