- Title: INDIA: SOCCER/FOOTBALL - Liverpool FC launch soccer academy in India
- Date: 25th August 2011
- Summary: SCREENING OF AN AUDIO-VISUAL PRESENTATION OF LIVERPOOL FC
- Embargoed: 9th September 2011 16:28
- Location: India, India
- Country: India
- Topics: Sport
- Reuters ID: LVABDDLWESE3WJJI1M4G9DRJR4MY
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: English Premier League club Liverpool on Wednesday (August 24) launched its first soccer academy in India with former midfielder Steve McMahon as its principle coach and mentor.
Giving India's budding football talent an international edge, the club plans to set up world-class training facilities in and around New Delhi by October this year.
According to Liverpool representatives, at least four new coaching centres will be established in Delhi, while more facilities are planned across the nation over the next 18 months.
Working with the Carnoustie Group, a sports consultancy, the club would bring in the expertise of coaches from Liverpool to enhance the soccer skills of players in India.
Terming the initiative as 'a vehicle' to connect with soccer fans, the head of Liverpool FC International Football Academy, Steve Turner, told reporters in New Delhi that the intention behind the idea was to take the club across the globe.
"As I said, we are looking to connect to our fans around the world, using the international football academy as a vehicle to achieve that," Turner said.
"It is not as if we just go trying to satisfy the biggest markets. We just want to take our international football academy to as many countries around the world, regardless of the size."
Identifying China as the club's next stop, Turner added that they were also eyeing potential partnerships with US, Canada, Vietnam and Malaysia in the future.
"We are in discussions with potential partnerships in South America, in United States, in Canada, in Vietnam and also in Malaysia. So, we want to communicate what we do around the world," he explained.
Liverpool aim to train children in the world's fourth most populous nation which is soccer-mad but has yet to see its national team succeed at an international level.
Former England and Liverpool midfielder, the legendary Steve McMahon, is the head coach of the Indian academy, which is also named after him.
Former Liverpool striker Ian Rush is also supporting the effort.
Speaking to reporters, a visibly excited McMahon clarified that the coaching facilities would be open to all budding players, who would receive special training by coaches from Liverpool.
"We intend to not be exclusive because we cannot do that," he said.
"We intend to open it to everybody, boys and girls and then we want to try and create the best of the best and that will become our academy.
"Hopefully, after being successful, we then have an exchange of knowledge with the Liverpool Football Club. We will get coaches from the academy, which is part of the contract from the Liverpool Academy, to come to India and coach the coaches and coach the children," added McMahon.
McMahon said that the project was not money-driven and would hopefully improve the standard of football in India.
"People talk, and they talk a lot, about what they intend to do to help football in this part of the world. We are not talking anymore. We are acting, we are doing it. We are walking the walk. We intend to make this happen.
"It is going to take time, but we are not in it for the short term, we are in it for the long term. I think that is important for everybody to know that. We are not in for a quick fix, we are here for a long time," said McMahon.
European clubs have been keen to tap into the Asian sports market, a growing trend underlined by Manchester United's plans of a $1 billion initial public offering (IPO) in Singapore by the end of the year.
Liverpool has a large Asian fanbase, especially in India, China, Malaysia and South Korea.
- Copyright Holder: ANI (India)
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