India to tap Argentina for technical assistance in football

August 11th, 2011 - 8:02 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 11 (IANS) All India Football Federation (AIFF) will be meeting Argentine Football Association (AFA) officials to seek technical assistance on the sidelines of an international friendly between Argentina and Venezuela in Kolkata.

Celebrity Management Group (CMG), which is organising the match, said the AFA has shown interest in AIFF’s request for a proposed meeting on the sidelines of the September 2 match, which will be the first non-India friendly to be held in the country.

“AIFF had requested us to organise a meeting with AFA. The AFA was more than interested in meeting the AIFF and discuss the possibility of a development project,” Dharamdutt Pandey, chief executive of CMG, said here Thursday.

The Argentina-Venezuela match, featuring stars like Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, Javier Masceranho and Angel Di Maria, will be held at a whopping cost of Rs.220 million. The match will also be the first international assignment of newly appointed Argentine manager Alejandro Sabella. Assistant coach Julien Camino, who played for East Bengal in 1988, will also be travelling with the team.

Defending the extravagant cost of hosting the one-off international, AIFF vice-president Subrata Dutta said the match would help the federation attract more sponsors.

“Some say such friendlies will do no good to India, it is a waste of time and money. But these matches will help to create the buzz around the Indian football and attract sponsors. This match will do a world of good to Indian football,” said Dutta.

“The match has attracted the attention of the state government, which has spent Rs.60 million to renovate the Salt Lake Stadium, which will meet FIFA requirements to host the international matches,” he said.

Pandey said the renovation work at the 120,000-seater stadium would be ready three days before the match.

“The dressing rooms are being completely renovated while the VIP boxes are getting a facelift. The tunnel is also being refurbished,” he said.

Pandey denied media reports that CMG was forced to reduce ticket prices after the intervention of West Bengal sports minister Madan Mitra.

“There was no pressure on us. Mr Mitra requested us to reduce the ticket prices so that it becomes affordable for school students. We told him that it is a high profile match and it is not possible for us to sell tickets at nominal rates. But since he requested, we reduced the minimum price from Rs.1000 to Rs.700 while the maximum price is Rs.5120. The corporate boxes have been tagged for Rs.7.5 lakhs each,” said Pandey.

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