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AIFF invites top European clubs ahead of Dubai meet

The AIFF has invited top European clubs like Manchester United, FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich to attend its ambitious meeting with probable investors -- in Dubai on March 31 -- and provide technical expertise to the two future corporate-owned sides in I-League.

The All India Football Federation is eyeing investors based in the Middle East to establish football teams, which will get direct entry into the I-League in return for their investment in infrastructure and youth development.

“We have written to them, including the usual big names, inviting them to attend the meeting,” a top AIFF official said. “There are two ways -- they can either tie up with a top club who can provide them technical assistance or enter as a standalone entity,” the official added.

Sources close to the national football body claimed that some of the clubs might turn up for the meeting, which will be attended by AIFF president Praful Patel, general secretary Kushal Das, other top officials besides probable investors.

The federation’s ambitious plan to rope in at least two corporate-owned sides into the I-League received good initial response with 30 companies, including IPL teams owners Sahara Group and GMR, turning up in a meeting with the AIFF officials earlier this month.
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