Lifestyle & Belief

Is American football coming to India?

Most Indians may be no beefier than Gandhi, but if local reports have it right, America's roughest pastime -- tackle football -- may be on the way later this year.

Citing league officials, the Indian Express reports that a full-fledged American football league is gearing up to start later this year, despite the failure of a similar professional field hockey league (a sport already popular in India) and the waning popularity of India Premier League intercity cricket.  

The new football league, called the Elite Football League of India will have eight teams, the paper said, including the Pune Wild and Goa Lights.

The Express said that planning for the league began a year ago after American investors met some Indian politicians and got permission from the Sports Authority of India. Earlier this year, Jefferey Williams, a former player associated with teams like the Los Angeles Rams, Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears, conducted training courses for coaches, the paper added.

According to the Express, the head coach for each team will be offered salaries of around $2500 per month, and players could earn around $500 a month. Depending on how the league does, these salaries might increase, however.

Bearing that in mind, the league's planners seem to have big dreams....  Here's a note from the web site, which is already up and running.

 A few enterprising Business Men / Educationists / Sports Enthusiasts from the US have resolved to bring the American Football into India and promote it as “ Indian Game “ packaged perfectly and specifically to compete for television and media viewership. EFL India will ultimately become one of the most valuable sports franchise in the world. Thousands of jobs will be created as a result of the immense need for coaches, athletes, trainers, referees, and support staff as well as the even greater demand for employees in the legal, maintenance, media, marketing and retail sectors.