The legendary England footballer Michael Owen and Sany Supra launched IPLSOCCER, a new initiative in Leicester which will seek to introduce diverse, local youngsters to competitive football. The launching was held at the Leicester Bharat Football Club. IPLSOCCER is a competitive 7-a-side indoor football competition, with selected city-based teams headed by celebrity owners. IPLSOCCER will be UK's first nationwide Asian football tournament, which will be held annually, and matches will be held at an indoor arena.
The goal is to encourage British Asians into professional football, although teams will hold trails in cities which will be open to 16-32 year- old players. The best 16 players from each city will be picked for their squad to play for their home city in the tournament. From this, players can be scouted into professional football contracts with clubs in the UK and abroad. Teams will be picked from Birmingham, Derby, Leicester and London. The celebrity team owners and their teams, trial dates and full tournament dates will be announced from September, and the tournament will kick off in June 2020.
Michael Owen, ambassador of IPLSOCCER, said: "Sport is one of the few institutions that can break down barriers and stereotypes but despite the diversity in the current England squad, no footballer of South Asian origin has won a senior England cap in over 146 years and British South Asians continue to be under-represented in professional football. Improving those statistics and providing fully inclusive opportunities for all are at the core of the IPLSOCCER Programme."
Leicester East MP Keith Vaz said: "We are thrilled that one of England’s greatest football stars has chosen to promote and discover fresh new talent by coming into the heart of the community and to announce this new football project. This will be such a momentous event. I am sure he will be given a hero’s welcome by local people, and the project has our full support.”
Sany Supra, founder & CEO of IPLSOCCER, said: "In this current climate where football is fanatically followed worldwide, especially the Premier League, we still find ourselves looking for some strong British Asian representation. IPLSOCCER is the opportunity for all to come and join and showcase their talents through this annual televised event. We all want to see the next Asian Michael Owen, Ronaldo and David Beckham breakthrough. Let this be the beginning of that journey.”