by Tom Stewart
The FlairWeekly team has a new favourite league- and it hasn’t even started yet. India’s ‘Premier Soccer League‘ looks set to be a potentially awful mix of completely past it money-hungry former stars and inexperienced and not particularly great Indian players (India are ranked 158th in the world).
The league is set to kick-off at the end of February, with 6 teams (although only 5 were involved in the bidding process today).
Today saw the league’s ‘auction’ where the franchises, managers and star players were all up for grabs….here is how it played out:
The Siliguri franchise landed the most expensive player- Italian World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro for $830,000 and he will be managed by MLS legend- Bolivian Marco Etcheverry.
Robert Pires, who was quite open as to his motives for playing in India, was highly sought after, eventually being won by the Howrah franchise for $800k
The Barasat franchise landed a player who was once the world’s most expensive, Hernan Crespo after, somewhat surprisingly, no-one bid for him. Crespo’s lawyer Gianluca Chibbaro, who was present at the auction, said the Argentine star was looking forward to play in PLS. “He is very excited to come to India and play. We all are too much excited. This is going to be hugely successful,”. I hope he’s brushed up on his Icelandic, as he will be managed by Teitur Thordason.
One of FlairWeekly’s favourite sons, Jay-Jay Okocha, ended up at Durgapur after going unsold. He will be managed by fellow Nigerian Samson Siasia who went for $210k.
Meanwhile, Englishman and, nowadays professional journeyman, Robbie Fowler, was signed by Kolkata. He will be managed by another Englishman, Peter Reid, who was snapped up for $200k (I’m not lying I promise).
Earlier team Barasat, which had a base price of Rs. 80 lakh, was sold for a whopping Rs. 25.15 crore to Uro Infra Reality India Ltd who became the costliest of the six franchises.
The next-costliest franchise was Siliguri (Aajay Consultants for Rs. 18 crore), followed by Kolkata (Camelia Group for Rs. 11.5 crore). Durgapur (Tulip Infonet for Rs. 7.6 crore) and Howrah (Syncsys Infotech for Rs. 9 crore) were the other franchises sold out for 10-year contracts.
Haldia found no taker with a base tag of Rs. 70 lakh. But the organisers maintained that they were in talks with two parties who would be unveiled soon.
It remains to be seen as to whether signing these big name (but way past their prime) footballers is the answer to India’s footballing problems, but rest assured we will be keeping a close eye on the PSL.