June 8 – With a month to go before the start of the two-day World Football in Paris, July 7-8, organisers have confirmed that the conference theme will be the ‘New Geography of Football’.
Although taking place two days before the final of the European Championships one focus will be on the high growth new markets of China in particular, and the potential of India.
China has shaken up the world football market with its domestic Chinese Super League becoming competitive in the international transfer marketplace, while its investors have been active acquiring European clubs – the latest being a 70% stake in Inter Milan last week. China has even provided FIFA with its first new major sponsor in since the US justice authorities triggered a wind of change across the sport.
A strong Chinese contingent will include Ma Guoli, Vice Chairman, Le Sports, which has been a market leader in shaking up the broadcast sector in China based on its acquisition of football rights.
The Indian situation is slightly different. The second largest country in the world, by population, is dominated by cricket with football barely registering in the professional sports landscape. That is changing slowly with the launch of the Indian Super League along a similar model to cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL).
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is now at the point of accelerating that growth with the integration of the ISL with the pre-existing I-League, though creating this new structure for Indian football is not without teething problems.
Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation and Sunando Dhar, CEO, I-League, will both be in Paris to discuss the progress and process of integration and whether what we are seeing is the awakening of what could potentially become a football giant.
The World Football Forum will also host a Russian football federation delegation and key representatives of the Russia 2018 organising committee. More details of their attendance are to be announced but they will be present to update delegates on the progress of the preparations for the 2018 World Cup, starting along that path with the Confederations Cup next year.
More than 250 people have already registered for the two-day forum, but places are still available. To register click here to go to the event website. The World Football Forum takes place July 7-8 at the Hotel du Collection Neur in Paris.
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