The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Thursday roped in International Management Group-Reliance Industries Limited as their commercial partner by signing a 15-year agreement worth Rs 700 crore, one of the most lucrative deals in Indian sports.
The deal was signed between AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das and John Loffhagen, senior vice-president IMG -- one of the world's leading sports management company -- at the AIFF headquarters in New Delhi.
"We have entered into an agreement with IMG-RIL for 15 years for the promotion and development of football. We are excited that this will lead to wider reach of football in the country and elsewhere," AIFF President Praful Patel told a press conference after the Annual General Body Meeting of the federation.
The agreement with AIFF grants IMG-RIL all commercial rights to football in India, including sponsorship, advertising, broadcasting, merchandising, film, video and data, intellectual property, franchising and new league rights.
The AIFF has also mandated IMG-RIL to develop the branding and marketing aspects related to national team, domestic competitions and participating teams.
IMG-RIL would also look at scheduling, restructuring and reformatting of the domestic competitions. In addition, IMG Reliance plans to develop, operate and administer a new professional football league in the country. Through AIFF, IMG-RIL will also work with the member associations in developing these various proposals.
Patel said IMG-RIL and the AIFF will work together to develop Indian football talent, significantly impact the competitive level of the sport as well as attract high quality international players. This will include training facilities, modelled on IMG Academies in Bradenton, Florida.
He disclosed that FIFA had also decided to give US $2 million to the AIFF and it would be used for the development of infrastructure and together with the new deal, Indian football will touch greater heights.
"FIFA will also give $2 million for development of infrastructure and we will start using it in floodlighting some stadiums, including Ravindra Sarovar Stadium, Bangalore Football Stadium and Cooperage in Mumbai, so that the I-League matches are held in the evening under lights," he said.
"We hope Indian football will scale greater heights with effective marketing and development at the grassroot level," he said.