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Sat, 23 Sep 2017

Northeast Today

John Abraham May Hold Fund Raiser for Assam Flood Victims

John Abraham May Hold Fund Raiser for Assam Flood Victims
August 20
20:21 2017

Bollywood actor and ISL franchise NorthEast United FC owner John Abraham on Sunday said he is willing to hold a fund raising event to help the flood victims of Assam in association with the state government.

“We would like to have a fund raising event for flood victims. But this has to be a government bona fide event. We would like to have this in association with the government,” Abraham said at a press conference in Guwahati. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma have been informed about this, he said.

“The latest flood has been very devastating. Over 50 persons have been killed. More than 200 animals died in Kaziranga National Park. Today morning I saw a picture of a carcass of a tiger, and it just killed me.

“Our heart is for Assam flood. Our solidarity is with the victims of Assam flood. NEUFC will always be with flood victims whenever there is any necessity,” Abraham said.

The third wave of devastating flood has so far claimed the lives of 67 persons across Assam. With these, the total number of persons losing their lives in this year’s flood related incidents in Assam went up to 151, including eight in Guwahati.

John Abraham also said that his team will break-even within next one or two seasons and will become the first one among all the teams. “NEUFC will be the first team in ISL to break-even. This is the fourth season of ISL and we will break-even in fifth or sixth season. So, it is just one or two more seasons,” Abraham said at the press conference in Guwahati.

Most of the ISL teams are targetting to break-even in the seventh or eighth season, he claimed. “Within the ISL, when someone talks about template, then they say look at NEUFC. We are working on economy of scale. We are working at the grass root and with local boys. We also prefer local sponsors,” the Bollywood star said.

He further informed that NEUFC is also very reasonable in terms of pricing of tickets during the matches and highly appreciated the support of the government machinery.

“We have a long-term vision. We are here for very very long term. We have already tied up with two clubs in Shillong and in Manipur. We have shortlisted kids and will house them in a residential academy at Shillong, where all their needs, including education will be taken care of,” Abraham said.

A third partnership is in the offing with a club in Mizoram, he added without sharing the name. “I am also the brand ambassador of Arunachal Pradesh. Very soon something very very exciting coming up there. It is about football. NEUFC is not just a club. It is a platform to reiterate the voice of North East,” the actor said.

NEUFC has conducted scouting across Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Manipur and selected 48 kids for trainig them at the residential academy. Asked about merger of I-League and ISL, Abraham said it does not look possible at present, but a has to be taken by the higher management.

The ISL franchise owner also said he is reaching out to all the North Eastern state governments to tie up for encouraging tourism in the region.

Talking about Indian football, Abraham said: “Indian football still has to develop. Foreign players are coming up and it is exciting for Indian players. Infrastructure has to be developed. If you ask me, football is not cricket yet, but it will be new cricket in a period of time.

-PTI

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