Soccer startup aims to induce global practices in India

A sports startup, aimed at football, is trying to introduce matured global practices in grooming talent through a business model, in association with corporates in India. The startup, part of Ekalavya Sports and Skill Development, owned by former national football player Kalyan Chaubey, with 21 years of footballing, sold-off his two houses to finance the Rs 12.5 crore mega football academy at Sambalpur, Odhisa. “We are trying to bring in global practices for grooming talent for soccer at Sambalpur. In order to make the project sustainable, we are looking at shaking hands with corporates,” Chaubey told PTI. With advent of Indian Soccer League (ISL) there is a severe crisis for quality players for the game and we have devised a business model for corporates which ranges from branding a football academy to sponsorships of players, he said. According to him, the Sambalpur facility is possibly Indias largest football academy both in terms of area and facilities. The academy can accommodate 90 players in a year. “But we will groom 30 to 40 semi-skilled 19-year-old players engaged in under 19 clubs for free,” Chaubey said. “They would be selected through our internal selection process. We would train them for two years to turn them ISL ready professional players while the rest can get training as per pay and play model,” Chaubey said. “Considering these players command the minimum annual fee as players in ISL, corporates will able to make healthy profit from tranfer fees for sponsoring these free players during the training period besides branding,” Chaubey said. In India, sponsoring players for transfer-fees when they turn professional players, is a new concept, he said. In order to strengthen its technical capabilities, the academy is negotiating with a top global soccer club to sign an agreement. Dialogues are on and in an advanced stage, he said.

Chaubey also said they are also open to offer co-owner rights of the academy and already holding discussion with a few corporate entities in this regard. PTI BSM SBN MM SSC SSC

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