The US-based International Management Group has inked a deal with the Andhra Pradesh government to groom talent, maintain infrastructure and set up multi-purpose sports and recreational facilities on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
Top executives of IMG and officials of AP tourism fepartment officials signed the memorandum of understanding in the presence of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu at Hyderabad on Saturday evening.
The Florida-based IMG has floated a new company -- IMG Academies Bharata -- to run its India operations. The new company will invest Rs 700 crore in the proposed projects in Andhra Pradesh over five years, including Rs 500 crore in a 30-month period.
The IMG Academies, which have the reputation of churning out Wimbledon champions, Olympic medallists and world-class champions, will be stepping out of their main campus at Florida for the first time.
The state government has decided to allot 400 acres of land, belonging to the Hyderabad Central University at Gachi Bowli, for setting up the state-of-the-art academies. IMG will pay a nominal Rs 50,000 per acre to the HCU and the government will allot alternative land to the University. Work on the sports academies will begin after the Afro-Asian Games scheduled for October this year.
IMG will be allotted another 450 acres of land near the proposed international airport at Shamshahad for setting up a theme park, a golf course and infrastructure for leisure, lifestyle and entertainment facilities.
As per the MoU, IMG will help the state government to produce world class champions, create international standard sporting facilities, market and supervise sports events. It will also help in develop lifestyle, fashion and tourism in the state, besides creating and promoting a market brand for Hyderabad.
The state government will set up AP Events Company as a separate entity from the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh. The ownership of SAAP's stadia will be given to APEC which, in turn, will lease them to IMG for maintenance and profitable operation.
"We have taken up the task of setting up academies and maintenance of stadia on lease for 45 years. 70 per cent of the the students will be from abroad while the remaining 30 per cent will be from India," Ted Meekma, IMG senior vice-president said. To begin with, the IMG Academies Bharata will train about 50 local sportspersons, apart from trainees from the Middle East and SAARC countries. The academies will be set up in seven to eight disciplines such as athletics, swimming, tennis, golf and soccer.
"The Government of India has agreed in principle to allot the inaugural edition of the Afro-Asian Games starting from October 24 this year to Hyderabad and the first test for the IMG will be to prove their expertise in conducting the Games. IMG has long term plans to produce Olympic medallists but I would like to throw a challenge to them to produce a champion in quick time," Chandrababu Naidu said.
"Without any world-class academy here, Karnam Malleswari got us a bronze medal in the last Olympics. Now, I want more medals in the next Olympics. We have to spruce up our country as a real bidder for the Olympic Games 2012. Our (state) government is keen to host the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games or even the Olympics in the state," the Chief Minister pointed out.
IMG vice-president Greg Brenich said IMG chose Hyderabad because of Naidu's vision, passion and drive. "Working along with IMG will definitely be a big boost to the state both in sports as well as tourism. We want to create an environment which will help our sportspersons to attain new heights and now we look up to IMG to live upto its reputation and help in a big way to see that India emerges as a sporting power," Naidu chipped in.