I-League club Chennai City FC today announced a strategic partnership with Swiss giants FC Basel which they have called ‘A landmark deal in Indian football’. The deal besides many other aspects focuses on building a world class residential academy at Coimbatore and opening a chain of soccer schools in Tamil Nadu in the initial phase.
Besides Chennai City FC officials, The President and CEO of FC Basel were also present at New Delhi today. Bernhard Burgener, the President of the Swiss club who owns 92 percent of the club’s share sounded optimist about the deal as he said, “This is not only a historic moment of Indian football or Chennai City FC but also a historic moment for FC Basel as we become strategically and financially active in Asia for the first time”.
The FC Basel President had some appreciative words for Indian football as he said,”Trying to learn about India, one thing I came across was a quote saying ‘India is the sleeping giant’! I believe it has already awaken and I really believe that India will play a dominant role all over the world in football. And I have checked the figures, the viewership from India in FIFA World Cup last year was massive.”
He added,”India has shown growing football interest in general but also the recently concluded Asian Cup has showcased that there is immense footballing potential to be tapped.”
While being asked what’s the main or initial focus of this partnership, Burgener said,“The intensive exchange with the club officials of Chennai City FC convinced us to make the deal happen. In the foreground for us is the support in the Junior area. In general we see great development potential in Indian football.”
There were several reports of FC Basel investing 25 million Euro annually which would enable the club’s entry to ISL but such deals have not taken place and Chennai City FC Co-Owner Rohit Ramesh has said that they are not having intentions of joining ISL at the moment.