India is set to host the under-17 football World Cup in October this year and the Indian government and Sports Ministry is doing everything possible to make it a grand success. They have organised some big events, called a number of international stars to promote the event and now, the government also wants India to host matches between top Premier League clubs during their off-season to utilise the facilities that have been developed for the U17 football World Cup. To make this possible, Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas met English Premier League’s International Relations Manager Tim Vine during his UK visit in July and explored the possibility of bringing top English clubs to India, according to a report by The Indian Express.
“A number of states have shown keen interest in hosting Premier League matches,” Srinivas was quoted saying in the report. Even though the Sports Ministry will not be directly involved in conducting the matches, it will promote them. “It’s very much on the cards. The ministry will not be involved in conducting the matches, but we will encourage it,” said Srinivas.
During their off season, the Premier League clubs frequently play matches abroad and even tour Asian countries. This year, Arsenal and Chelsea geared up for their new season in Beijing, Manchester United spent a month in the US, Liverpool travelled to Hong Kong while their cross-town rivals Everton prepared in Tanzania. There is also a Premier League Asia Trophy, which takes place during the same period.
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However, a lot of factors are considered by these clubs before choosing their overseas destination. Given that India is one of Premier League’s biggest markets with a television viewership estimated at 150 million per season, even these clubs would be interested in exploiting the conditions, if they get good facilities.