Chelsea boost for Indian football
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Chelsea boost for Indian football

Chelsea Football Club of England is considering an association with Indian football to promote the game in India.

sports Updated: Nov 19, 2007 16:34 IST

Indian football is set to get a major boost as the famous Chelsea Football Club of England is mulling association with programmes aimed at the game's development in the country.

"We are working with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in this continent. We are very much associated with the Vision Asia programme and here we would like to contribute to the Vision India programme," Chelsea's chief executive officer Peter Kenyon said on Monday.

"We have already set our feet in Asia with the Vision China programme, which is currently running in five cities. It has been a success for us and we want to replicate the same in India as well," Kenyon told IANS in an interview.

The Vision India programme, part of AFC's Vision Asia, was launched in 2006 with an aim to develop soccer at the grassroots level.

"We want to develop a coaching culture in India. Our main aim will be to nurture talent in a well-planned manner. But everything will done in consultation with the AFC," said Kenyon.

He went on to add: "If Chelsea associates itself with India, then it would look to make a sustainable development programme in this country. It will be a long process."

Asked what India should do to improve its standing in international football, the Englishman said: "There are many factors, which will lead to India's success in international level. I think a solid programme at the domestic level, right quality of players, good stadiums and the success of the national team will obviously prove as a catalyst for India to go up the ladder in FIFA rankings."

On India's inaugural Professional League, which starts Saturday, the Chelsea official opined: "I think this is the right time for India to have a professional set-up. This Professional League should give the game a new dimension. But the onus will be on the federation and the clubs to make it a successful event."

Kenyon was speaking on the sidelines of a conference on the 2012 Olympics in London and 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

"Prior to my association with Chelsea, I was the chief executive of Manchester United. I witnessed the power of transformation the Commonwealth Games had in Manchester in 2002. The city regenerated beyond imagination," he said.

"Similarly 2010 will be a vehicle for Delhi to promote itself on the international stage."

Asked to comment on Chelsea after former coach Jose Mourinho's exit, Kenyon said: "Life has to go on. But we have to give credit to Jose for what he has done with the club. We are winning a lot of matches now due to his hardwork."

First Published: Nov 19, 2007 16:30 IST