The English Premier League and Indian Super League have signed a ‘mutual cooperation agreement’ to develop football in India.
The deal was signed last Friday by Nita Ambani, chairperson and founder of Football Sports Development Limited, and Richard Masters, chief executive of the Premier League. FSDL is the company that runs and commercialises the ISL, and is in turn owned by the IMG-Reliance sports marketing joint venture.
The EPL-ISL agreement renews an existing partnership between the two leagues that began six years ago. The new deal will involve a particular focus on developing youth football. The leagues have also cooperated on coaching, refereeing, finance, youth football and academies, among other aspects of the sport.
Ambani and Masters were attending ISL youth tournament the Next Generation Mumbai Cup, which involved Premier League teams playing against Indian teams. The UK-India Sports Alliance, an initiative by the UK government’s Department for International Trade, organised sports industry knowledge-sharing conferences and meetings around the Cup.
At Friday’s event, Nita Ambani said: “The Indian Super League is now forging into the next step of our partnership with Premier League. The association over the last six years has been very satisfying for the work we have done in developing Indian football. We would like the two leagues to further strengthen the tie through the renewed Premier League-ISL partnership to work on youth development, coaching and refereeing aspects.”
Richard Masters said: “We are extremely pleased to reaffirm our long-term commitment to developing football in India by signing a new Mutual Cooperation Agreement. Over the past six years, and in partnership with the Hero ISL, we have supported football coaching and development, as well as other areas of the elite side of the game including infrastructure and finance. This new agreement brings with it a new focus, this time on the development of youth football, so we look forward to working in collaboration with our Indian counterparts to enhance this area of the game.”
Crispin Simon, the UK government’s Trade Commissioner for South Asia and British Deputy High Commissioner for Mumbai and West India, said: “The Premier League is an epitome of sporting excellence globally, and their work in India continues to support the rapidly expanding football sector here. The UK Government continues to work with the League to support the growth of the sports economies in both our countries, through the Indian-UK Sports Alliance, which brings together influential individuals in both countries to help drive collaboration.”