New Delhi, November 26: Nike today kicked off its annual grass root initiative for football in India - the Manchester United Premier Cup (MUPC) - India Final 2008, which will be conducted across India from November 28 to January 20 this year.
This is the third year in a row that Nike is conducting this tournament in association with the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
Nike's MUPC tournament has attracted participation of teams from Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, Bangalore, Orissa, Pondicherry, Kerala, Gujarat, Delhi, Chandigarh, Goa, Kolkata and the North East. This year over 50 teams from across the country are vying to be the Indian Finalists.
The competition is open to footballers under the age of 15, the past few years have attracted a cumulative participation of 9,00,000 players and 9,000 teams from over 40 countries such as England, France, Brazil, Germany and many more.
The tournament has witnessed past winners of champion clubs such as Barcelona, Corinthians, Manchester City, Sao Paulo to name a few.
''The winners of the India round will be flown to South East Asia to participate in the South East Asian regional finals of the tournament to be held in May 2008,'' said Sanjay Gangopadhyay, Marketing Director, Nike India.
The tournament is conducted under the the AIFF with the support of Tamil Nadu Football Association, Chandigarh Football Association and Goa Football Association.
Some of the participating teams include East Bengal FC, Mohun Bagan AC, Mahindra United FC, JCT, Dindigul District Youth Academy, Pune FC, Viva Kerala, Salgaocar Sports Club, Sporting Club De Goa, etc.
The group stage matches of the tournament will be held in two centres - South and West Zone (Chennai Qualifier) at J N Stadium, Chennai from Nov 28th to December 1. The East and North Zone (Chandigarh Qualifier) at Sector 17, Chandigarh between December 13 to 16, 2007 while the MUPC India finals 2008 will be held in Duler Stadium, Goa between January 16 to 20 2008.