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Football Development Week in India a success

6 Mar 2019
Premier League Football Development Week, Mumbai

Premier League and Indian Super League bring to Mumbai series of youth-focused events

The Premier League Football Development Week in Mumbai has been hailed as a success after the Premier League, the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) and Star Sports brought a series of youth-focused football events to India.

The showpiece event was based on the theme of youth player development.

It demonstrated the different ways the Premier League and its clubs will continue to provide support to the ISL, at both league and club level, to ensure the continued professional development of ISL coaches, referees and young players. 

Forty youth players from Arsenal and Leicester City travelled to Mumbai to play matches against Mumbai City and Reliance Young Champs academy youth teams in the PL-ISL Youth Games 2019.

Unique cultural opportunities

Representatives from the Premier League, Arsenal and Leicester also led workshops, club-to-club training, referee development and forums for ISL and All India Federation (AIFF) coaches and executives.

The week provided all participants with unique cultural and educational learning opportunities. Among these was a visit to the Oscar Foundation and participation in a kabaddi session for the clubs' Academy players and coaching staff.

“It has been an excellent experience for all involved, not only from a football development point of view, but also as a platform to share ideas and best practice, while offering a valuable cultural experience to young players and coaches from the Academy teams,” Premier League Director of Football Richard Garlick said.

The Football Development Week marked a new phase in cooperation the Premier League has had with the ISL and other football organisations in India for more than a decade. The focus of this phase will be on youth player development. 

'Promising talent in action'

“We saw some promising young talent in action and I look forward to seeing football in India continue to grow at all levels of the game," Garlick said.

Les Ferdinand, the 10th-highest scorer in Premier League history, joined the week’s activities.

He used his experience as a player and now position as director of football at Queens Park Rangers to help youth coach training sessions as well as participating in knowledge-sharing workshops with key football and sports organisations.

"Football is clearly on the rise in India and the passion and commitment of all those involved in the Football Development Week shows there is a real desire to see that continue," said Ferdinand, who also attended a Premier Skills session.

Premier League Football Development Week, Mumbai
QPR director of football and Premier League goalscoring legend Les Ferdinand saw how Premier Skills is helping generate female coaches in India

"I have been impressed by the talented young players I have seen in action this week and am excited for what the future holds for football in India."

Sundar Raman, CEO of Reliance Sports, was excited to see his RF Young Champs taking on Premier League Academy sides.

"The Football Development Week was a big success and will aid the knowledge exchange platform for both Premier League and Indian Super League clubs," he said.

The UK’s Department for International Trade also supported the week as part of its GREAT initiative and helped bring together key sports organisations to discuss and share expertise around youth development systems.

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