Even as the World Cup 2002 goes underway, about 16 major companies in India including large multinationals have teamed up to create a football mood if not mania in the city.
Heres how: Informally but well organised, the companies have gone to the extent of drawing up the first ever tournament called Delhi Merchants Cup 2002 inter-corporate five-a-side soccer tournament (the name takes off from Kolkatas Merchants Cup).
Its already been set in motion. Just consider the format: The participating teams got divided into four separate pools, and each team got to play three matches in the round robin league. After the league stage, eight teams played for the Gold Plate and the remaining eight teams played for the Silver Plate. The matches-played under floodlights during the evening on Saturdays and Sundays - are of 30-minutes duration each including a 5-minutes break during half-time.
While the last two weekends were spent playing quarter finalswith teams vying for the gold plate and the silver plate, the coming weekend will see the culmination of the match: June 1 will decide the two finalists from four semi-final matches. In the semi-finals, to be played on June 1, Pepsi will take on Canon and Compaq will meet Maruti, while Grey Worldwide and Arthur Andersen will take on GE Caps (A) and HTA respectively.
Spearheaded by soft drink major Pepsi Cos head of sales and of course a hardcore football enthusiast Mr Sundar Hemrajani, the tournament is being played by companies such as Compaq, Canon, Grey Worldwide, Frito Lay, Nestle, Reckitt Benckiser, HCL, Hughes, GE companies and others. And with cheer leaders no less than company heads like Mr Rajiv Bakshi, CEO-Pepsi India, Mr Jaran Philkana, HR head-Cargill India, Rajesh Janey, country head-Compaq and partcipants families and friends, soccer fever is certainly getting off to a new high.