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YFI at Old Trafford!

YFI at Old Trafford!

This is what happens when you join YFI - a truly international experience. Our U-15 star - Zoma was selected for a one week training camp with Manchester United and met his future team mates…thanks to Apollo tyres!

'West Bromwich Albion - Air India' deal agreed as club delegation heads for Delhi

'West Bromwich Albion - Air India' deal agreed as club delegation heads for Delhi

West Bromwich Albion are delighted to announce Air India as the Club’s Official Regional Airline Sponsor. The deal is announced as a four-man delegation from The Hawthorns heads to Delhi this weekend to continue Albion’s strategic links in the region.

Albion’s officials will be holding talks aiming to further strengthen the Club’s working relationship with Delhi Dynamos, one of the new Indian Super League clubs which secured the loan of striker Adil Nabi for their campaign. They do so with the Baggies now having cemented their partnership with Air India, which has assisted the club’s travel to India to support the extensive and on-going grassroots initiatives Albion are already delivering there.

As part of the agreement, Air India will feature on the pitchside LED at The Hawthorns, as well as in the match-day programme and other promotional assets at the club. Air India’s Assistant General Manager, Vishwanath Paynam, said - “We are delighted to be in partnership with West Bromwich Albion. It’s an association which has grown with the service provided for their visit to India which we believe can continue to flourish in the future.”

The timing for club and airline could not be better as Director of Football Administration - Richard Garlick and Sales and Marketing Director - Adrian Wright are joined by Director of Communications - Martin Swain and Albion Foundation Director - Rob Lake for the five-day Delhi visit. Highlight will be their attendance at the Dynamos' home clash against Atlético de Kolkata in which Nabi is expected to feature as the Delhi side bid to maintain their title challenge in the second ISL campaign.

“Football is taking off in a big way in India and it is a natural territory for us in an era when so many Premier League clubs are expanding globally,” said Wright. “We have good links already with Delhi Dynamos but we wish to agree a way forward and cement our working relationship. There are many areas in which partnership goals are mutual – player loans such as Adil’s, grassroots development and talent searching, business growth via partnerships and social media and data growth. This trip will give us an opportunity to explore all of these avenues still further. We are now in an international age and the club recognises that to stand still will be to be left behind."

This is only the second ISL season but its average attendance of 24,357 in its debut campaign makes it the fourth biggest domestic league in world football. Nabi, the first Premier League professional to play in ISL, has forced his way into the Dynamos starting XI after a frustrating few weeks when he was held back by the League’s restrictions on overseas players. But after an impressive performance in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Mumbai City, he is expected to keep his place for Saturday’s Atlético de Kolkata clash. Dynamos are joint top of the ISL with FC Goa.

Kick off - Delhi Youth Girls' Football League

Kick off - Delhi Youth Girls' Football League

After more than a year of hard work and coordination efforts from Youth Football International (YFI), the Delhi Youth League and with support of the Barclays Premier League, last Saturday, 13th February, the Delhi Youth Girls League kicked off at the YFI Kapashera field. Nine teams have registered for this exciting event.

A total of 250 Girls from different religions and socio-economic backgrounds met with only one purpose: play football and have fun in the field. This has been a dream for many girls including 16-years old Bobby, who says - “I first saw football on TV at the age of 6. All I have wanted since then, is to play some ball”.

Their performance on Saturday has definitely demonstrated their passion for this sport as well as their impressive skills from a very young age.

In a country like India, where women rights have been always in the front news, it is very inspiring to see young girls and coaches with such a commitment for equality despite gender stereotypes and social beliefs.

Coaches have witnessed how girls have gained confidence with football and how they are able to see a way to step out of the cycle of poverty. This is the case of 13-years old Kehkasha, who says - “My game is improving and I am fitter, healthier and happier since I found football. When I grow up I want to be a pro player”.

The Girls League will continue next weekend and will be on until April 2016.

West Bromwich Albion to provide Premier League level coaching across 1200 schools in Delhi

West Bromwich Albion to provide Premier League level coaching across 1200 schools in Delhi

The project has the potential to reach tens of thousands of boys and girls who will not have experienced this level of coaching before. Nearly 4,250 miles separate - the Hawthorns and the great city of Delhi; but through the efforts of West Bromwich Albion and their partners in this enterprise – the Delhi State Government, University of Wolverhampton, Delhi Dynamos, The Albion Foundation and Youth Football International – they have made the distance disappear.

So what’s today all about? Three years ago, Albion launched the Pass It Forward project at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi and began building the Club’s profile in India driven by the desire to expand their audience beyond international boundaries and into a region which resonates so naturally and obviously with its own surrounds.

The Club have supported grassroots football in both Mumbai and Delhi and pioneered coaching support for some of the poorest youngsters in Delhi’s sprawling suburbs through a fully funded scholarship programme. After that trigger point, it seemed only natural to bond with Delhi Dynamos as the Indian Super League took grip and brought a booming football culture to the nation.

This culminated in Albion becoming the first Premier League club to loan an active first-team squad member, Adil Nabi, to the ISL via the Dynamos for their 2015 season. Now comes the next phase in these blossoming ties between Birmingham, the Black Country and the growing football fan-base in Delhi and across the ISL.

Following the Delhi State government granting permission for access, Albion and the University will be providing personnel to instil Premier League coaching values across 1200 schools in the region. This gives the project the potential to reach tens of thousands of boys and girls who will not have experienced this level of coaching before.

“In effect we are going out to ‘coach the coaches’ and spread the Pass It Forward message,” says Adrian Wright, Albion’s Sales and Marketing Director who has driven the Pass It Forward project from the outset.

“Ultimately, we want to establish a legacy that leaves a lasting impression on Delhi and India. It should be a legacy that extols the values of West Bromwich Albion and of course hopefully brings new fans to our attention.”

They are also developing their relationship with Delhi Dynamos all the time and their message is clear: “We’re here to stay and want to help football develop and through that improve the health and well-being of thousands of youngsters whose lives we can genuinely hope to change for the better.”

On the platform today, Adrian is joined by Albion’s captain and Scottish international Darren Fletcher, Professor Ian Oakes of the University of Wolverhampton, Delhi Dynamos president Prashant Argawal and Paul Schuttenbelt from Youth Football International.

The ISL is one of the newest but fastest growing football leagues in the world and was the subject of a Mutual Co-operation Agreement with the Premier League, the first of its kind for English football’s top division. Preparations for its third season are now underway but attendances are already only bettered in England, Germany and Spain.