SBD/August 3, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

American Football League In India Scheduled To Begin Play In November '12

The Elite Football League of India will unveil Friday in Mumbai the first effort to transfer America’s top game to the subcontinent. Former NFLer and current ESPN "MNF" analyst Ron Jaworksi has signed on as a consultant and an investor, as have Pro Football HOFers Michael Irvin and Mike Ditka and former Packers LB Brandon Chillar, according to the league’s business plan. Chillar is of Indian descent. The business plan calls for eight teams starting in November '12 for a short four-month season. The league has already struck a deal with Ten Sports, a top sports broadcaster in India. Football has no roots in India, but Richard Whelan, an American businessman who has lived in India for seven years and will be EFLI’s chief executive, said Indians are mesmerized by American sports. The league hopes to draw on the same Bollywood connections that pushed the Indian Premier League so fast so far. “I promise you, you will see this become the largest league in the world,” Whelan predicted. “We are taking America’s top entertainment product and sharing it with India.” To date, the league has been tapping rugby players and teaching them the game. There are more than 200 players currently going through orientation, he said. The league plans to sell public stock in November, he added.
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