EDIT: h/t Svein at Bangkok United. The UK 'Daily Mail' now has a similar article but also quotes the director of the promotional company as saying "We have signed seven icons at a salary cap of 390,000 GBP" (19 million baht). Robbie is listed as one of the "icons".
A more official sounding press release by the promotional company managing the "PLS" event in India has also named Robbie as a participant. The statement seems confident of the named stars' participation. Of course it could well be sales talk but such talk could be quenched in a moment by a denial from Robbie's secretary or agent.
If - and that's a big "if" - it's true, it would mean Robbie being absent from his highly paid and (so far) poorly performed duties at MTU while the squad look to rebuild from their first trophy-less season in five years.
I hope that it's just hype and Robbie will stay with the squad, use his contacts to strengthen the side and get their fitness back to speed as we bring in new faces and let others move on.
Indian Football Association and Celebrity Management Group
Officially launches Franchise Tender Document to award
SIX Franchisees for the Premier League Soccer
Kolkata, 13th January 2012: The Indian Football Association, West Bengal (IFA) – the governing body of Football in Bengal and Celebrity Management Group (CMG) – one of the leading sports management organizations in India today launched the Tender Document to award SIX Franchisees for the proposed Premier League Soccer (PLS) at a Press conference in Kolkata today. CMG also named six world famous players such as Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Fernando Morientes (Espana), Jay Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Robert Pires (France), Robbie Fowler (England) & Hernan Crespo (Argentina) who will be participating as ICON players in the PLS Season-I which kicks off around 25th February, 2012. All of the six franchised teams of PLS will also be headed by world class coaches like Peter Reid (England), John Barnes (England), Samson Siasia (Nigeria), Marco Etcheverry (Marco Etcheverry), Colin Todd (England), Teitur Thodarson (Vancouver Whitecaps) & Milos Rus (Slovakia).
The exciting and innovative model of PLS is expected to rationalize the Indian Soccer Industry beside creating a new demography in Indian Soccer. Mr. U. K. Ganguly, the Hon’ble. Secretary, of The Indian Football Association (West Bengal), Mr. Bhaswar Goswami, Executive Director, Celebrity Management Group along with Mr. Dharamdutt Pandey, CEO, Celebrity Management Group were present at the occasion to brief the media.
The Franchisee locations to be awarded through the Tender process for next 10 years are: Kolkata, Barasat, Howrah, Haldia, Durgapur & Siliguri. Each of the location has a Minimum Base price (yearly Franchisee Fee) which are: Kolkata & Siliguri is Rs. 1 crore per year; Barasat it is Rs. 80 lakhs per year whereas for Haldia & Durgapur the price is Rs. 70 lakhs per year. Any Body Corporate, Joint Venture Companies, SPVs with a minimum combined Net worth of US$ 5.00 Millions or an Annual Turnover (combined) of US$ 10.00 Million during each of the last 3 years may bid for a PLS Franchisee. It is mandatory to submit tender for atleast 3 locations. The highest bidder for each location will awarded with the Franchisee license they Bid for. There will also be an expense cap for the franchisee to build their teams in each season. For the Season-I, the expense cap is US$2.5 Millions (maximum) & US$ 2.0 Millions (minimum). At the end of 10 years there may be re negotiations or fresh Bid would be invited.
Those who are interested can buy the Bid documents between January 14th & 21st 2012, from CMG Office located at New Alipore or from IFA Office. The last date for submission of the completed Bid with all relevant documents will be 22nd January 2012 by 2:00 pm and all the Bid will be opened from 4:00 pm on the same day. For any informations about the Bid document one can contact CMG (Ph: 033-2445 7929).
Speaking at the occasion Mr U. K.Ganguly, Hon’ble Secretary, The Indian Football Association said, “This is a first of its kind initiative for football with an objective to reach out to the fans across India through television broadcast. The mission of PLS is to foster the development of Bengal’s sporting culture and to assist in the healthy mental and physical growth of Bengali people. The goal for PLS is to develop India’s sporting culture, create new audience and raise the bar for Indian Football,”