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Using football to drive India connect

Tuesday evening’s football clinic from where six boys earned a ticket to the Bayern Munich football’s school was the second such initiative from the Champions League runners-up.

sports Updated: Nov 16, 2010 22:43 IST
HT Correspondent

Tuesday evening’s football clinic from where six boys earned a ticket to the Bayern Munich football’s school was the second such initiative from the Champions League runners-up. What makes it different this time is that automobile giants Audi are using it to establish a connect in India.

By stating that football’s in the company’s DNA, Michael Perschke, director, Audi India sought to stress that they aren’t in this for two minutes of fame. “Doing that takes you nowhere,” he told HT as 96 boys aged between 10 and 15 got ready at the CC&FC to strut their stuff in front of Bayern Munich’s All Stars including World Cup winners Paul Breitner, Paulo Sergio, Andreas Brehme and Hansi Pfulger.

That Audi and Adidas, who were also involved in the clinic along with Lufthansa and Allianz, have ownership stakes at Bayern Munich makes this association more than just a sponsors sideshow, Perschke said.

“Through dealers and our PR machinery, we have the set-up in place. We will now be talking to Bayern and Adidas to firm up a plan. The idea is to get something going at the national level. Following up on these boys once they return from the Munich school too will be considered.”

Already associated with amateur golf in India and having Ravi Shastri as one of its oldest brand ambassadors —Perschke said, drove the first Audi to India and will be here for Wednesday’s match against East Bengal veterans — Audi is going the route travelled by Nike and Tata Tea who are associated with Manchester United and Arsenal’s football programmes respectively in India involving children.

But since their competitors aren’t doing anything like this, Perscke said he doesn’t think Audi will have to play catch-up.

The chosen six: R.Chettri, S.Rai, D.Nongkynrih, J.Lalrawngbawla (from Shillong Lajong);

S.Samadder and S.Murmu (both from Kolkata).