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    2013 leg of 'Airtel Rising Stars' soccer talent hunt kicks off
     
    Following a successful inaugural year, the second edition of 'Airtel Rising Stars' now scouts for the next batch of India's most talented under-16 soccer players
     
    'Airtel Rising Stars' is India's largest under-16 soccer talent hunt which will give 11 promising youngsters the chance-of-a-lifetime to train with Manchester United Soccer School and possibly kick-off a career in professional football
     
    Starting August 2013, this 3-month long Inter-Schools Tournament-cum-talent hunt will involve participation from soccer players representing over 450 schools in seven cities, as well as individual players, before finally hand-picking the best performers who will get the chance of a lifetime to attend week-long coaching clinic with Manchester United Soccer School coaches
     
    New Delhi, 9th July 2013: Bharti Airtel, a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, today announced the kick-off of the second edition of 'Airtel Rising Stars' (ARS) – India's largest under-16 soccer talent hunt. Started in association with Manchester United (one of the best soccer clubs in the world) last year, 'Airtel Rising Stars' is a rigorous scouting program that will screen young footballers across India for capabilities and skillsets basis their performance in tests, real time match simulations etc. The ARS program is open to individual entries and evaluate students from over 450 schools spread across 7 cities in India, and will finally handpick the country's top 11 under-16 footballers who will get the chance-of-a-lifetime to attend a week-long training camp with Manchester United Soccer Schools and possibly kick-off a career in professional football.
     
    ARS 2013 was flagged off earlier today at a press conference held in the presence of Manchester United football legend Gary Pallister and Mohit Beotra (Chief Brand Officer – Bharti Airtel, India). The 3-months' long Inter-Schools Tournament-cum-talent hunt will be conducted in seven cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Guwahati) with the support of the respective State and District Football Associations.
     
    "During its first year of inception in 2012, the sheer scale of participation achieved by the 'Airtel Rising Stars' program across India showed us a new side of the enthusiasm our country possesses for soccer as a sport. Last year, we saw ARS bring alive the soccer dreams of 12 very talented footballers – who went through our comprehensive selection process and finally got to experience what millions of soccer players across aspire for – i.e. a soccer training camp with professional coaches from the Manchester United Soccer School. In 2013, brand Airtel is excited to further augment the ARS experience for talented footballers in India and take this soccer hunt to a level that is bigger and better", said Mohit Beotra of Airtel.
     
    Delighted to announce the commencement of ARS 2013, Gary Pallister of Manchester United added, "With a base of 35 million Manchester United followers in India, we started working with Airtel on the ARS program last year and were more than pleasantly surprised with the kind of potential that footballers here possess. We are excited to raise the bar higher this year and take 'Airtel Rising Stars' into its second year of serious soccer talent scouting across all parts of India. ARS is one of the largest of its kind in India and gives us a great opportunity to coach these young, dynamic and talented players on how to play the Manchester United way".
     
    The Airtel Rising Stars 2012 experience - DID YOU KNOW?
    Picking the Best: The first edition of Airtel Rising Stars sent 12 of the country's best soccer players to train at the Manchester United Soccer School in Manchester and they came back with unforgettable experiences and memories. From the 12, three players were selected as being exceptionally talented, namely Kartikeya Anurag Swarup from Delhi, Porus Firdaus Shroff from Mumbai and Teja Pavan Kumar from Hyderabad.
    A Magical Experience: In their week-long stint in Manchester, the players got an opportunity to train at Manchester United's historic 'Cliff' training ground. They played a match against the Winslow Albion U-16 team, which the Airtel Rising Stars deservedly won 3-1. They had a tour of the magnificent Old Trafford Stadium, which included a visit to the dressing rooms, before capping off the memorable week by catching live action of the match between Manchester United and Reading.
     
    The revised format of the 'Airtel Rising Stars' program will ensure that every player gets an equal opportunity to showcase his skills and playing acumen through a series of selection criteria, overseen by renowned and officially certified coaches in each centre.
     
    The 64 top soccer playing schools will play amongst themselves, with the winning school in each city presented with the Airtel Cup. The best three players from each city will be picked for the final selection trials. The best goalkeeper from each city will also be picked and put through their paces, following which two will be shortlisted for the final selection trials, which will be held in Goa.
     
    Besides players from the top soccer playing schools, individual players also stand a chance of being picked for the final selection trials. Those aspiring of the opportunity can upload videos of their soccer playing skills and the top 50 videos from each city will be shortlisted for a live audition. From these, the most talented player will get an opportunity to be a part of the final selection trials.
     
    The 30 players in the final selection trials will train for five days under coaches of the Manchester United Soccer Schools (MUSS) in Goa and will be tested on all parameters (including physical attributes, individual skills, match situations and their performances in actual matches) before 11 of the best players are chosen to travel to Manchester for a week and train alongside the Manchester United - Under 21 team.
     
    For participation in ARS and more information, visit www.facebook.com/airtelsoccer.
     
    In 2009, Bharti Airtel had announced its tie-up with Manchester United to bring a variety of benefits for Airtel's football loving customers in India. As part of this association, Airtel customers across India have been enjoying exclusive access to Manchester United football content as well as money-can't-buy match experiences. The ARS programme is an extension of this long term association between brand Airtel and Manchester United.
     
    The on-ground execution of 'Airtel Rising Stars' has been entrusted to Procam International - India's largest Sports marketing and Leisure Management company.
     
    About Bharti Airtel
    Bharti Airtel Limited is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 4 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. In India, the company's product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high speed DSL broadband, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G wireless services and mobile commerce. Bharti Airtel had over 275 million customers across its operations at the end of May 2013. To know more please visit, www.airtel.com.
     
    About Manchester United

    Manchester United is one of the most popular and successful sports teams in the world, playing one of the most popular spectator sports on Earth.

    Through our 135-year heritage we have won 61 trophies, enabling us to develop the world's leading sports brand and a global community of 659 million followers. Our large, passionate community provides Manchester United with a worldwide platform to generate significant revenue from multiple sources, including sponsorship, merchandising, product licensing, new media & mobile, broadcasting and match day.