Football is rising in India, says Newcastle legend Shearer

Football is rising in India, says Newcastle legend Shearer

The Premier League has been gaining steady popularity in India over the last decade and fans from across Bengaluru will have the opportunity of lifetime come Saturday at the Premier League Live at the Karnataka Trade Promotion Organisation (KTPO) in Whitefield here.

At the fan park, enthusiasts will be able to enjoy the Premier League fixtures on a giant screen and will be in the esteemed company of legends, the likes of Newcastle striker and Premier League top scorer Alan Shearer (260 goals) and Arsenal linchpin from the ‘Invincibles’ Robert Pires.

The two-day festivity will also include a host of other activities which will enable fans to get a snapshot with the Premier League trophy, get a virtual reality stadium experience and for those who want a hands-on feel, there will be a robotic goalkeeper that individuals can test themselves against.

During an interactive session with the media on Friday, former England captain Shearer expressed his delight at the enthusiasm shown by supporters in India, adding that the Premier League could really build on events like this.

“Second visit to India. I was fortunate to be in Mumbai for a similar event in March. I was absolutely staggered with the enthusiasm and the passion, the love for football. I understand that cricket is big here but football is catching up pretty quickly. Another reason why we are here this weekend so that we can try and push that,” he added.

Three games – Liverpool vs Manchester United, Crystal Palace vs Chelsea and Watford vs Arsenal – will be telecast at the event and the obvious fan favourite will be the first clash where Jose Mourinho’s men travel to Anfield.

One man who is no stranger to this fixture is Manchester United’s centre-back Ronny Johnsen, who featured for the Red Devils in 99 games between 1996 and 2002, and was a part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in their treble winning season in 1999.

“It’s a big fixture. Two of England’s biggest, possibly, and the rivalry is fierce. There’s a lot of passion and history that goes into this fixture and that is what makes it all the more special.

“You have one club that did well in the 70’s and then United came back strongly during the Ferguson-era so it’s pretty balance.”

The looming threat of rain could play spoilsport to the event but organisers are confident they have things under control and will ensure the fans get an undisturbed overall experience through the weekend.

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