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SBD Global/November 12, 2012/Facilities

Chelsea Partners With IMG-Reliance To Open Football Academy In India

IMG-Reliance and Chelsea have "launched preliminary talks" that could lead to the English football club "partnering the Indo-American sports management company to develop a world-class football academy in India," according to Binoy Prabhakar of the TIMES OF INDIA. Chelsea will "bring the expertise to run the upcoming facility in Vadodara, said the first person, who is familiar with the club's negotiations with various football stakeholders in India." Reliance CEO Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man, met Chelsea CEO Ron Gourlay in London recently "for the first round of discussions, he said, asking not to be named." For Chelsea, the tie-up with an established player -- IMG-Reliance is the commercial partner of football's governing body All India Football Federation -- will "clear the decks for entering the fast-growing Indian football market, which has caught the interest of other football powerhouses such as ManU and FC Barcelona." The source said that "a football academy is the easiest path to a new market, and Chelsea could not have landed a better partner than Reliance because of the Indian company's ability to absorb initial losses. The source added that "for IMG-Reliance, the deal could signify that things are finally falling into place" (TIMES OF INDIA, 11/10).
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