The Arsenal Football Club Plc (AFC), a leading soccer club of the United Kingdom, has decided to set up 75 soccer training schools in India, including Hyderabad. The AFC is looking for partners- industry establishments that can sponsor the training schools’ activities- for setting up the schools in all the major centres over the next five years, according to AFC partnership development director, Alex Wicks. Mr. Wicks was here recently in connection with the British South India Chamber of Commerce meeting. Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the meeting, he said the AFC was focusing on promoting the sport in the country. “There is huge potential in India that can be tapped. We want to see more children taking a liking to soccer, a sport watched by over four billion people across the globe,” he said. According to the partnership model, the club will provide training and expertise for coaches who will in turn train interested children in the game. AFC players will also be brought to India during their non-peak season to participate in matches with local teams. Commenting on the popularity of cricket in India, he said: “Cricket is popular in England too, but it is a seasonal game whereas soccer can be played all through the year.”

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