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Star India acquires broadcast rights to Indian football team’s intl matches

NEW DELHI: The All India Football Federation ( AIFF) and its marketing partner Football Sports Development Ltd (FSDL), a 65:35 JV between IMG Reliance and Star India, has awarded the media rights of the national football team’s matches to Star India.

Unveiling the national football team’s yearly fixtures, the AIFF has said that the India national team will play 15 competitive games including eight matches in India during March 2017–18.

All the international fixtures will be broadcast live on Star Sports and its digital platform Hotstar. Star also holds the media rights to the Indian Super League (ISL). I-League matches are broadcast by Ten Sports Network, which is now under Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI).

Speaking on the development, a Star India spokesperson said, “This is a huge step forward for us. Broadcasting the national fixtures is a significant addition to our line-up of football properties and validates our network as the premier destination for football fans. We are pleased to showcase India’s international matches, which will provide a special experience to fans to follow the Indian national team during prime time on our on-air and digital platforms.”

The national team have already played and won two games beginning March 2017—a friendly against Cambodia and the AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Myanmar. With a clear focus on increasing home games, the AIFF recently launched the annual multi-country Champions Cup to be played by four countries including India in August 2017. The competition will be held from 18 to 27 August, where the team will play four games provided they reach the finals.

The India national team play their next friendly against Nepal in India on 6 June, before taking on the Kyrgyz Republic in the home leg on 13 June, in their bid to qualify for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the UAE. Followed by the Champions Cup in August, the team return to their AFC Asian Cup qualifier campaign as they play the last team in the group, Macau, in the away leg on 5 September.

The national team will take part in two training camps between October and November 2017, where they also play the home games of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers against Macau (10 October) and Myanmar (14 November). The Indian national team will also come together for additional friendly games at home on 4 October 2017, 8 November 2017 and 22 March 2018, against teams yet to be confirmed. The last match of the AFC Asian Cup qualifier will be played in an away leg against the Kyrgyz Republic on March 27, 2018.

The national team played a total of six games which included four home games in the same duration last year.