Liverpool Secure Indian Partnership to Start Soccer School

August 25, 2011

Liverpool Football Club Wednesday announced a partnership with Indian company Carnousti Group to start the Steve McMahon Football Academy, which will start operating from October.

Named after the Liverpool and England soccer legend Steve McMahon, the academy has been endorsed as the ‘Official Football Academy in India’ and is a non-profit joint project with Carnousti Group.

The first venue partner will be Genesis School in Noida, though eventually there will be another venue partner, but the academy will be open to any young applicant and the target is to train 500 players in each venue this year.

McMahon, who said he is tremendously excited, having waited five years to bring Liverpool to India, did not reveal the price of the course. “All that will be on our website, which will be up very soon,” he said.

The training will be ‘at a cost’, McMahon admitted when asked, but did not directly respond to a question on how financially challenged kids could enter its portals, saying only that there will be ‘incentives’.

McMahon, somewhat peeved with a question, stressed that this is not a venture for profit. This is about building a connect, and if at all there is a profit, it will be ploughed back to develop infrastructure.

He said that the basic programme package is to train young talents and also coach the coaches, so that they can coach future players. The club would send its own top coaches to India as well.

“It will take some time, and even cricket, which is the sporting religion of India was not built in a day, but the aim is to get Indian players to play for Liverpool FC.”

But it was clear that the club was widening its business window. When asked why they have chosen India, Steve Turner, head of the Liverpool Football Club Academy said that there were millions of fans across the world, and since they all cannot come to Liverpool, the club has decided to reach out to them.

“We want to have our footprint across the world and after this event in Delhi, tomorrow we are flying off the China to open an academy there.”

Turner also said that the idea behind the academy, whether in Liverpool or anywhere else, is not just to teach how to play good football.”The idea is to teach life skills, such as building a team, taking leadership, learning to handle praise as well as criticism, skills that will stay with the children for their lives.”

Legendary England striker Ian Rush, with an unmatched 347 goals to his credit, and the Liverpool FC Soccer School Ambassador, responded to a question on why the venture is being opened in Delhi, where football culture is abysmal: “That is because Carnousti turned out to be the right partner, and they happened to be in Delhi.” To which McMahon added: “East and South are in our minds and slowly we will be there as well.”

The Carnousti Group was originally formed in 2006 as a golf course developer. Eventually it expanded into adventure sports.

Rajesh Malik,  director, Carnousti, said that with the signing of this deal, “We have taken a step further in strengthening our union with sport by bringing the Official Liverpool Football Academy to India.”