Tuesday, January 23, 2007

EPL backs Red Bus social projects in India

British Chancellor Gordon Brown has launched the English Premier League's international development strategy in Mumbai, India. Speaking at the announcement of the first of these projects - a three-year partnership between the Premier League and Magic Bus, a Mumbai-based sports development charity - the Chancellor said: "Everywhere you go in the world people want to talk about English football, the players and their clubs. I cannot congratulate the Premier League enough for using this power - you could describe it as England's secret diplomatic weapon - to good social effect. You can see here today what Magic Bus is all about - opportunity and community - and it is fantastic that the Premier League have teamed up with them to invest in these people. A three-year commitment by the Premier League - not just here in India but in Africa and South East Asia too - speaks volumes about what Britain has to offer the world, and how in turn Britain is viewed."

Matthew Spacie founded Magic Bus in India in January 1999 in response to his desire to work with children and young adults through the outdoors and sport. It has since transformed itself from an individual’s idea into a sustainable organisation. With 3,500 children per annum on its program, an employee base of over 50 and approximately 240 volunteers, the organisation is playing an important role in developmental work in children’s lives in India. Asian Football Business Review previously reported on a recent Red Bus alliance with Nike and the Premier Indian Football Academy - see Underprivileged Indians (2 Oct).

Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, added: "At home the Premier League and our clubs have a long-held commitment and reputation for investing in community and education programs. Given our popularity and success internationally we felt it only right to take this approach to a wider community. Magic Bus is just the type of partner we should be engaging with across India, South East Asia and Africa. Their model of local development and community ownership chimes with the Premier League view that any contribution we make must be sustainable. We have two similar pilots planned in Egypt and South Africa later this year and, with a significant proportion of our £35 million commitment to good causes earmarked for international development, there will be a huge amount we can achieve."

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