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The meeting is being held with a view to attract investors from overseas to provide infrastructure for the proposed two franchisee based teams in the I-League...

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is pulling out all the stops to ensure that the Indian football scene derives maximum benefit from the proposed two new franchisee-based teams who would be granted direct entry into next year’s I-League. The federation has invited European heavyweights such as Bayern Munich, Manchester United, and Barcelona to attend its ambitious meeting in Dubai on March 31st to provide technical expertise to the new teams.

The meeting in Dubai is solely aimed at attracting overseas investors to the I-League. The Indian FA is especially targeting the Middle East to establish football teams who will play next year’s I-League and would be relegation free for three seasons. In return the company has to invest in the infrastructure and youth development.

“We have written to them, including the usual big names, inviting them to attend the meeting,” a top AIFF official said to The PTI on the condition of anonymity. There are two ways they can either tie up with a top club who can provide them technical assistance or enter as a stand-alone entity.

Sources of The PTI revealed that some of the top European clubs would be in attendance at the meeting along with AIFF President Praful Patel, General Secretary Kushal Das and other investors.  

This is the second open meeting that the AIFF is conducting with the first taking place in New Delhi which saw many industrial heavyweights like Sahara Group, DSK Shivajians, Venky's, Dodsal Group and GMR expressing interest in forming their own football teams. Federation President Praful Patel, who chaired the meeting, later expressed happiness at the initial response of the corporate houses at the initiative.

“It was a very satisfying meeting and the response from the corporate sector was very good. We are hopeful that we could find at least two corporate teams to play in the next I-League season (2013-14 ),” he had said after the meeting which lasted more than two hours.

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