'Making football popular is our goal'

'Making football popular is our goal'

Startup saga

'Making football popular is our goal'

It was their strong bond and firing passion for football that brought four friends — Preetham Chandra, Karun MA, Abhiram KG and Nikhil R — who were from the same school together to start a football movement.

These group of young engineers used to play at a football club where they met Deepak L at football practice sessions. Thus was born the ‘Footieculture’.

It was after Preetham quit his full-time job that he started promoting football among people soon after.

“Once we graduated we all got into different jobs. But within a year, we realised our love for the sport and came together to make this idea tangible,” he says.

“Those days an amateur player wouldn’t know what the next step was for him. There was lack of infrastructure and competitive platforms. There were no definite outlets for a passionate footballer. This is where we came in,” details Preetham.

The initial plan of the startup was to create a community in Bengaluru which brought footballers together. “We wanted to get inputs from people which would explain about how one could improve the scene,” says Nikhil. “Thus we started ‘Footie Nights’ — the screening of football matches — to create a social media momentum.”
“This helped us to garner attention. After this we wanted to conduct tournaments and thus continued the activities,” he adds.

The startup’s goal is to create and develop the culture of football from the grassroot level to a professional environment. “We aim to provide a holistic platform for the next generation of Indian footballers. Being run by people who have an exuberating love for the sport, there is first-hand knowledge about what is required to make a proper football experience,” says Abhiram.

They hosted an open-tournament which saw 64 football teams come in. They also held events for corporate organisations and schools. The startup has since come a long way.

 They started ‘Rebels Football Academy’, which is a residential institution. “Our concentrated verticals include being event facilitators, providing a space for young talent, working with corporate sector and schools, and organising matches to build a common platform for football,” says Preetham.

Long-term goals of the startup include building infrastructure and managing the game from there.

Nikhil, another founder, says, “In the city, there is only the Bangalore Football Stadium which is also given out to other clubs for practice. Thus when the public comes into the scenario, there aren’t many spaces to go out and practice at. Bridging this gap is our main focus. Making football popular is our goal.”

The biggest challenge that the startup faced initially included infrastructure issues and monetary constraints but things are getting better now.

“Sponsors were not able to identify football as the next big brand in the country, when we started. But things have slowly changed now and Bengaluru has opened itself up to many different things,” says Karun.

Preetham adds that the city has accepted football and recognised the positive features of the game now. “There are a lot of investors coming up to fund different activities which is encouraging. We see a lot of improvement,” he sums up.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox