The JCT Football Team representatives from Punjab will be arriving at Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club. DESIblitz spoke to Surbjit Balu, the Asian Events Co-ordinator at Wolves FC to find out more about this exciting venture of exchange between the teams.
The exchange between the two clubs is the brainchild of Minister of Parliament for Wolverhampton South-East, Mr Pat McFadden.
Organisations including Wolverhampton University and College, Wolverhampton City Council, Wolverhampton Schools and the Wolverhampton Development Company, are all supporting the initiative. A delegation of high-level representatives from each organisation, UK Trade and Investment and the Chambers of Commerce went to India to progress the project.
Surbjit is part of the Commercial team at Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and is responsible for promoting the club to the Asian communities, especially in the West Midlands area of the UK. Here is her exclusive video interview with us, where she tells us of this exciting development between Wolves FC and JCT FT and what Wolves are doing to make the exchange happen.
An agreement was signed between Wolves FC CEO, Jez Moxey and President of JCT FC Samir Thapar in May 2008, in Punjab, India, when a Wolves FC delegation visited the JCT FC home. The formal agreement aims to develop a strong relationship between the two club’s academy staff. Jez Moxey and first team coach, Terry Connor, Pat McFadden and Jas Bains, toured JCT FC’s new stadium site and training ground in Hoshiarpur as part of their visit.
The chairman of the FA, Lord Triesman has commended the “exciting partnership” in a letter of support which said,
“Plainly Wolverhampton Wanderers have made an exceptional commitment to the development of football in India and deserve warm congratulations.”
Samir Thapar said, “JCT is a truly Punjab based Team with 70% of our players being local boys from Punjab.” He feels that this project will provide ability to share knowledge and coaching skills which will support and strengthen JCT FC’s focus of developing the sport of football at the grass root level in Punjab. The objective is that the two clubs will also share best practice on a range of club matters from community involvement and development through to club administration.
Jex Moxey said that Wolves FC was very proud to form this partnership with JCT FC. He said, “Both clubs are dedicated to building a long-term relationship, which puts community and youth development at its very heart.”
Pat McFadden said that the project is about Trade, Education and Sport and strengthening the already strong ties that the City of Wolverhampton has with the Punjab. He said, “Wolverhampton Wanderers has one of the biggest Punjabi supporters club in the UK; the ‘Punjabi Wolves’ and so a link to one of India’s strongest football clubs, based here in the Punjab makes perfect sense and we are delighted to be here today with our friends at JCT and are tremendously excited about the potential of this exciting relationship between the two clubs.”
This shows that there is commitment within the game of football in the UK and that South Asians are associated with the game at a global level. The initiative by a UK based football club to harness a strong relationship with a club from India, in this case the Punjab, demonstrates the opportunity that is presented to tap into a huge market both commercially and culturally.
Football from India will arrive in a different and much more welcomed way compared to the other well known import of leather footballs made in India. Hopefully, this will also open and support the prospect of more Asian players in the game which is something that many await to see.