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Ronnie Screwvala to play the soccer game, eyes team in Indian Super League

MUMBAI: Ronnie Screwvala is not going to rest after exiting from Disney UTV. His new play will be sports, an area where he does not compete with The Walt Disney Company India where he was the managing director.

Ronnie ScrewvalaStuffed with cash from his stake sale in UTV to Disney, Screwvala has bought Mumbai-based football club and training academy PIFA FC (Premier India Football Academy). He had recently set up a sports division with Supratik Sen, sports marketing head at Red Bull, as its CEO.

Screwvala will also bid for a football team in the IMG Reliance, Star India and All India Football Federation (AIFF) promoted Indian Super League (ISL). Unilazer Ventures is the investment company of Screwvala.

IMG Reliance, Star India and AIFF, the three organisers of the ISL, have invited bids. There will be eight franchises and bids can be submitted in respect of nine cities—Goa, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru and Guwahati.

“The ISL opportunity is interesting and we are examining it. This league has the potential, along with the broadcast deal, to put football in the mainstream,” Screwvala told The Economic Times.

Screwvala also told the business daily that he plans to invest between Rs 50 and Rs 75 crore on football over the next two-to-three years if he wins for one of the ISL teams.

For PIFA FC, which was set up in Colaba, Mumbai in the 1970s and competes in the Mumbai District Football Association League, Screwvala is planning to invest Rs 10 crore. This would involve setting up new training schools and talent management.

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