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Cannavaro, Pires, Fowler, Crespo, Okocha all likely to be a part of India's football IPL

The Celebrity Management Group (CMG) and the Indian Football Association have signed a 30-year deal for boutique football league similar to the successful Indian Premier League of cricket.

The likes of Fabio Cannavaro, Robert Pires, Robbie Fowler, Hernan Crespo, Jay-Jay Okocha, Fernando Morientes and Maniche are all being linked with the newly-formed competition which is set to begin on February 25 and run until April 8, with 30 players and six coaches auctioned off in the city of Kolkata.

"We have signed seven 'icon' players for the auction and each of the six teams will have one such player with a $600,000 salary cap," Bhaswar Goswami, executive director of CMG told Reuters.

"We have started with six teams this year, all in the state of West Bengal but have already been approached to expand the league to other parts of the country.

"Every team will have $2.5 million to spend in the first year. They will have a maximum of four foreigners and a compulsory six under-21 Indian players in their squad.

"The league is modelled on Major League Soccer and of course IPL," Goswami added. "We saw the hype and buzz around players' auction in IPL and feel it can be an equal success. It's a brilliant concept. We expect owners to make profit much earlier than the IPL franchises. We are also in the process of finalising television rights for live broadcast across south-east Asia."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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