India to hold first footbaal auction
India to hold first football auction
Calcutta hosted India's first friendly between overseas national teams
Former international football players are to be auctioned on Monday to play in a new tournament in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta.
The players being sold include Fabio Cannavaro, captain of Italy's World Cup-winning team in 2006, former French international Robert Pires and Nigerian Jay-Jay Okocha.
The Premier League Soccer (PLS) tournament will feature six teams.
The organisers expect the league to do well in India's football capital.
Last year the city hosted India's first international friendly between overseas teams, with Argentina beating Venezuela 1-0.
'New path' Organisers of the PLS, which begins next month, hope to emulate the success of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the cricket tournament that attracts huge crowds and which inaugurated the auction system.
They also believe that it will inspire more Indians to play football. India is ranked 158 of the 203 football-playing countries.
The BBC's Rahul Tandon, in Calcutta, says 20 foreign players and five foreign coaches will be auctioned on Monday.
"For the first time ever football players will be auctioned and I think that we are at the crossroads for Indian football. I am sure that the PLS will provide a new path for Indian football," Bhaswar Goswami, one of the organisers, told the BBC.
But critics of the league say the money would have been better spent in developing talent and question whether football can ever challenge the multi-billion dollar business of cricket in India.
Football has been played and followed in India for almost 200 years.
The televising of the Mexico World Cup in 1986 made Maradona a hero and created a generation of Argentina fans.
An Indian company, Venky's, now owns the Premiership club Blackburn Rovers.
Liverpool are setting up an academy in Delhi and Manchester United chief executive David Gill has spoken openly about his team's desire to crack the Indian market.
Last edited by DexteR; 10-04-2012 at 01:59 AM.