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SBD Global/July 30, 2014/International Football

Indian Super League Banking On Former European Football Players To Impress Fans

French football player Robert Pires and Spanish footballer Joan Capdevila "will add a modicum of star quality" to the new franchise-based Indian Super League but critics believe that "the presence of such European veterans is unlikely to help develop the sport in the country," according to REUTERS. Pires "became the latest big overseas name to sign up for the tournament on Monday when the former France international joined ex-Arsenal teammate Freddie Ljungberg." However, "not everyone is convinced that the marquee players, all well past their prime, can impress upon either the fans or local players." Former India player Satyajit Chatterjee said, “It’s a good marketing strategy but in the end, it all boils down to the standard of football. Young fans want good football and they’ve grown up watching the English Premier League, La Liga and the Bundesliga. They won’t settle for anything less. I don’t think over-the-hill players can dish out that kind of football." Football writer Jaydeep Basu felt the ISL, modeled on the Indian Premier League tournament, "was a natural destination for the ageing players." Basu: “They are done with top class football and the space is shrinking for them. Good money and the comparatively brief duration of the tournament make ISL a natural choice for them" (REUTERS, 7/29).
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