Mumbai, Dec 18 (UNI) Tata Tea with the objective of promoting football among the youth of the country and help them gain access to the best in terms of infrastructure and training today announced the launch of the Tata Tea Arsenal Soccer Stars, an unique schools' football tournament.
This tournament would be held in association with Arsenal FC, the premier football club of the United Kingdom.
This programme, which will be open to children aged between 10-15 years, will offer participants access to unparalleled training programmes including the customised Arsenal development programme called The Arsenal Way, it was announced at a press conference held here.
The tournament. starting from January 12, will begin in phases across four zones - South, West, North and West with each zone having its own elimination rounds, culminating in a national tournament, to decide the national winners.
30 talented boys, identified by a panel of professional footballers during the tournament, will be given two weeks of coaching by Arsenal coaches in Kolkata. This will be followed up with a final selection of 15 boys who will get an opportunity to attend an Arsenal training camp in the UK as well as entry to the much awaited Arsenal International Soccer Festival in London during August 2008, the organisers announced.
The first training camp in India will be held over two weeks during the summer vacations from May 26 onwards, while the second training camp in Arsenal will be for 15 days and will start in the first week of August 2008.
Speaking on the occasion, Tata Tea Managing Director Percy Siganporia said, ''Tata Tea and Arsenal are passionate about the healthy awakening of mind, body and soul of our country's youth through football. We would like to thank Arsenal for driving the growth of football in India. I am sure this initiative will brighten the future of Indian football.'' Arsenal FC Commercial Director Adrian Ford, who was also present on the occasion, said ''We are glad Tata Tea has taken this initiative. Soccer Stars is a fantastic platform for budding young footballers and we hope to contribute in propagating this wonderful sport in India.'' The schedule of Tata Tea Soccer Stars is as follows: Bangalore: January 11-13 Calicut: January 19-20 Goa: February 9-10 Chandigarh: April 5-6 Delhi: April 11-13 Mumbai: April 18-20 Bhubaneswar: April 26-27 Shillong: April 26-27 Kolkata: May 2-4 Grand finals in Kolkata on May 9 and 10 for which 16 teams from the nine cities will be chosen.