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No budget upper-cap in partnership with Norwich, says Chennaiyin FC VP Ekansh Gupta

Published at :April 3, 2024 at 4:19 PM
Modified at :April 3, 2024 at 4:19 PM
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(Courtesy : CFC Media)


Ekansh Gupta clarified that this partnership will not be a gimmick.

Indian Super League outfit Chennaiyin FC and English football club Norwich City FC have forged a strategic partnership. The clubs have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) where the partnership will work towards mutual development, sharing of resources, knowledge and much more.

Ekansh Gupta, Vice President of Chennaiyin FC and Sam Jeffery, Commercial Director at Norwich City FC announced the details of the long-term strategic partnership in a press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the interaction:

Not a gimmick

Ekansh Gupta clarified that the objective of this partnership is to focus on grassroots and work towards mutual development, unlike some other tie-ups of the same nature in the past. “This is not a marketing gimmick or a ploy. We are looking at the grassroots, at new development, cross-marketing and promotions between the two teams which will later lead to good things. This three-year partnership is a good start for us in terms of showing our commitment or Norwich showing their commitment in India.”

A long-term strategic partnership

Sam Jeffery was quick to clear the air about any doubts over the partnership. He talked about being excited to work in India and utilise fans’ interest in football towards developing the sporting culture here. “India is one of the fastest growing sports economies in the world. From a commercial standpoint, it is a massive opportunity to work together. Putting to bed any scepticism, it is a long-term strategic partnership,” he said.

On the budget of the partnership

Ekansh Gupta confirmed that the partnership between the two clubs does not have a strict budget and the expenditure will rely on the requirements at both ends. He said, “In terms of monetary value, we have not put a number to it. It is dependent upon what’s best for both of us (Chennaiyin FC and Norwich City FC). There is no upper cap to the budget in this particular partnership.”

Chennaiyin FC to play against European heavyweights

Sam Jeffery announced that Chennaiyin FC will be one of the clubs participating in an age-restricted tournament later this year that will involve some of the most reputed clubs in Europe. Sharing more details, he said, “In October this year, we are launching, what we believe, is the best academy tournament in Europe. We’ll host that at our training facility initially for the U-12 and U-13 age categories. We have invited some of the biggest clubs in Europe like Chelsea, Arsenal, and Inter Milan and we are in discussions with Borussia Dortmund. As a part of this partnership, we have invited Chennaiyin FC to come and play in that tournament as well. Hopefully, it will be a proud moment for the fans to see the future stars of Chennaiyin FC playing against some of the biggest clubs in the world.”

The prospect of pre-season training at Norwich City FC

Ekansh Gupta also spoke about how the partnership may benefit the senior Chennaiyin FC squad and in this context, he said, “In terms of the senior team, we are looking at pre-season training at Norwich but it depends on logistics and ground availability with their team training there. Apart from that, there is an option of loaning players from Norwich depending on our requirements and player availability.”

Owen Coyle’s role

Both Ekansh Gupta and Sam Jeffery talked about Chennaiyin FC’s head coach Owen Coyle playing a key role in the partnership. “Owen (Coyle) is here next year as well and he knows most of the Norwich team back home. He will go visit their games, and training sessions during the summer break which is an option for the senior Chennaiyin FC team,” Gupta explained.

“Owen Coyle is a well-respected coach in England and that was a key part of this partnership from a footballing standpoint. We are always open to loaning players to places and clubs that fit the values that we want to instil in our players,” Jeffery added. 

Launching a Master’s Degree

Sam Jeffery also shared details about working on launching a Master’s Degree for international students. “We will be launching a Master’s Degree in collaboration with the University of East Anglia. It will be a significant opportunity for international students to study football business which is such a unique business in so many ways. As part of the agreement, we will be looking at offering scholarships from Chennai too, to help the students and it would be the first of its kind in England,” he opined.

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