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Premier Futsal’s new investors and plans to make it bigger this season
MUMBAI: Premier Futsal, the five-a-side shorter version of football, will be bigger and better this year. The event, which has Sony as the broadcaster, will take place in Dubai from the semi-final stage to broaden the league’s appeal.
Lalitha Jewelry promoter Dr Kiran Kumar is now an investor in the sporting venture.
Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldinho, who was the star attraction in the first season, has extended his association with the league for three more years.
Mediapro, a Spanish company which also works with La Liga, will produce the event and distribute it globally for the second season. It will also deliver marketing solutions and services. In India, Premier Futsal will continue to air on Sony.
Meanwhile, RR Kable Group, a leading wire and cable manufacturing company, has taken ownership of the Mumbai team for perpetuity. More franchise owners will be announced later.
The second season of Premier Futsal, which will run from 15 September to 1 October, will be held in four venues—Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Dubai. The semi-finals and final will take place in Dubai. Last season there were two venues, but this season Goa has been replaced with Delhi and Bangalore.
The six teams in the event will play each other seven times before the semi-final stage. Right now, there are no plans to have two seasons in one year.
Premier Futsal chairman Xavier Britto noted that that the league is committed to foster and expand the sport even further allowing for sports enthusiasts from different geographies to come forward and engage with futsal.
“Futsal requires skill to play, and at the same time there are less rules, making it the most suited sport for Indians. For instance, the offside rule is not present. Besides, this sport does not require much infrastructure,” he stated.
He also said that the first season became attractive because of Ronaldinho. “His matches were the most watched. Premier Futsal is a product made in India. We are guided by PM Modi’s call for innovation and entrepreneurship and motivated by his vision to make India a successful sporting nation. In the last season, we had boot camps and selected players who got to play alongside international players and legends. Our government wants to give more importance to sports,” he added.
Premier Futsal CEO Abhinandan Balasubramanian said that the difference this time is that the event is being taken global. The event will air in 85 countries. Dubai was chosen as a venue as the world watches that city. He noted the support that Premier Futsal has received from the Dubai Sports Council.
RR Kable group co-proprietor Rajesh Kabra noted that Premier Futsal had seen significant traction in its first season and had clearly gained stickiness among its TG. “It gives us immense pleasure to be able to facilitate the growth of the unique sport in the city of Mumbai through this association and enable it to be an integral part of one of India’s fastest-growing sports properties,” he said.
Ronaldinho noted that Futsal has been a part of his life since he started indulging in the sport as a young kid. “Premier Futsal has quickly become the biggest futsal event in the world and I am here to support this league in the long term, and make it a huge success globally. Now with the second season, we want to break the glass ceiling and set the benchmark for sporting leagues across the world. We want to inspire more and more youngsters to take up the sport and all our efforts especially the launch pad are directed towards bringing in youth closer to the game.”
The tickers for the event will go live soon and will be available on Paytm.