American football comes to India

August 5th, 2011 - 7:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Aug 5 (IANS) American football is coming to India with the launch of Elite Football League of India (EFLI) next year.

The inaugural season of the EFLI will be played from November 2012 to February 2013 and will be held at a custom-built stadium in Pune between eight teams from Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Punjab and hosts Pune.

Each team will play the other twice, which adds up to 56 games plus two play-off games to decide the top teams.

“The launch of EFLI in India is a momentous occasion for us and indeed for the game. American Football is an inherent part of the American way of life. India has been known to assimilate cultures like very few countries have done, and that, coupled with the immense pool of talent makes it an ideal choice for a concept like EFLI,” Sunday Zeller, EFLI founder, said at the launch.

“We are certain that these factors will combine to make India a force to reckon with in this great game of American Football, apart from creating the most lucrative sports league in the country.”

EFLI will comprise of Indian players and coaching staff who will be supported by professionals from American teams. The league will be focussing at the grassroots level to provide opportunities to deserving candidates.

It will be conducting similar programmes in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan to add to the talent pool.

EFLI will work on a franchise model, which means the team ownership will be determined through auctions. However, the bidding for ownership would be open to Indian and non-Indian bidders alike.

The games will be broadcast on television.

EFLI has been working with the Indian government and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to bring this sport to India. SAI recently allowed its facility in Balewadi (Pune) to be used for an orientation programme conducted by EFLI.

SAI has also consented to support such programmes across other major cities which will host similar programmes.

The Elite Football Federation of India (EFFI) will share 15 percent of its revenue with the sports ministry.

“We are glad that the Government of India and the Sports Authority of India have been very forthcoming and supportive for EFLI and hope that this is just the beginning of a historical and mutually beneficial partnership,” Manohar Bangera, COO, EFLI, said.

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