NEW DELHI: Reigning Europa League champions Sevilla FC are in discussions with an unnamed Indian football club and are trying to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with that outfit. Interestingly, the club in question is not from the Indian Super League.
The six-time Europa champions had been trying to tie up with an ISL club for some time but, according to the club's CEO Jose Maria Cruz, that particular deal fell through after another European heavyweight jumped in and concluded a separate deal.
"We were in talks but unfortunately, that deal did not work out and the ISL club signed up with a prominent European club. It might be because of financial elements, we are not sure. Despite other ISL offers, we decided to look elsewhere," the CEO said from Seville.
Among the ISL clubs who already have foreign partners, Mumbai City FC are part of the City Football Group after Manchester City's owners bought a 65 per cent stake and Borussia Dortmund had announced a two-year partnership with Hyderabad FC.
The new deal does not include buying a stake but more of information exchange which includes players being sent to Spain for coaching as well as an exchange of coaches. Sevilla are adamant that the deal is not a short-term one.
"We could have gone for the more lucrative route but the new owners we met also shared the same philosophy as Sevilla and they wanted to build something more substantial including grassroots development. The club we are partnering with had the option of joining the top tier but declined and have a separate approach towards doing things. That has attracted us and we are actively looking at the Indian market and we want to be here for the foreseeable future."
The Sevilla CEO could not divulge the name and city of the new club as the Spanish giants are yet to get the approval for the deal from their board of directors and are hopeful of concluding the deal by the end of this year.
The club also suggested that the new deal includes the possibility of having their reserve team (Sevilla Atletico), which is currently a part of the Spanish third tier (Segunda Division B), to come and play in India along with their main women's team.
"The previous deal had the option of sending the first team as part of pre-season preparations but we want to start on a smaller scale this time. But that does not mean we cannot broaden the horizon in the future," he signed off.