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    • Airtel Rising Stars’ is India’s largest under-16 soccer talent hunt which will give 12 promising youngsters the chance-of-a-lifetime to train with Manchester United Soccer School and kick-off a career in professional football

    • Starting mid-July 2012, this 3-month long talent hunt will involve participation from over 10,000 young soccer players across 16 cities in India and hand-pick the best performers in skill tests, real time match simulations, coaching clinics with Manchester United Soccer School coaches, etc.


    New Delhi, 26 Jun 2012: Bharti Airtel, a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, today announced the kick off of ‘Airtel Rising Stars’ (ARS) – India’s largest under-16 soccer talent hunt. Launched in association with Manchester United (one of the best soccer clubs in the world), ‘Airtel Rising Stars’ is a rigorous scouting program that will cover 16 cities across India and choose 12 talented footballers who will get the chance-of-a-lifetime to attend a week long training camp with Manchester United in Old Trafford, England.

    This announcement was made in a press conference held in the presence of Sanjay Kapoor (CEO – India & South Asia, Bharti Airtel), Manchester United football legend Dwight Yorke as well as ace footballer and ARS brand ambassador Sunil Chhetri. This 3-months long talent hunt will be conducted in 16 cities (including Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chandigarh and Jaipur) with the support of the respective State Football Associations.

    "Followed by over 1.6 billion fans worldwide, soccer is a cult sport amongst youngsters across the globe. In fact, millions in the Indian subcontinent closely follow the game and aspire to play alongside professional soccer players. Given the mass appeal of football and a large youth population, we are uniquely positioned to tap and nurture young soccer talent. Aimed at recognizing and training such talent, we are today excited to launch ‘Airtel Rising Stars’ as a hunt for the best under-16 soccer players across India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. As a game, soccer represents the principles of team-play and ‘friendship’ - thus making it a perfect fit for brand Airtel. We see ‘Airtel Rising Stars’ as an exciting strategic step towards strengthening our brand positioning and appeal to the youth”, said Sanjay Kapoor of Airtel.

    Manchester United’s Commercial Director, Richard Arnold said; “We were very pleased to associate with the ‘Airtel Rising Stars’ programme in India and look forward to working closely with a number of extremely talented players. With 35 million Manchester United followers, India is one of our fastest growing fan bases and I have no doubt that we will see equally talented individuals in this country too. The programme is one of the largest of its kind in India and it is a great opportunity for us to work with these talented players in order to coach them on how to play the Manchester United way.”

    The unique format of ‘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 best three players from each city will then be picked to attend a final six-day camp-cum-selection trials by coaches from Manchester United. The 48 players will be divided into four teams of 12 each and will be tested on all parameters (including physical attributes, individual skills, match situations and their performances in actual matches) before 12 of the best players are chosen to travel to Manchester United for a week and to train alongside the Manchester United Academy team. .

    For participation in ARS and more information, visit www.facebook.com/airtelsoccer

    The on-ground execution of ‘Airtel Rising Stars’ has been entrusted to Procam International - India’s largest Sports marketing and Leisure Management company.

    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.

    About Bharti Airtel Limited : Bharti Airtel Limited is a leading integrated telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 5 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. In India, the company's product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G services, fixed line, high speed broadband through DSL, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G mobile services. Bharti Airtel had over 255 million customers across its operations at the end of May 2012. To know more please visit, www.airtel.in.

    About Manchester United Manchester United is the world’s most popular football club, with an estimated 333 million fans and was recently named by Forbes magazine as the most valuable sports club in the world. Founded in 1878, the Club has won a record 19th English league championships to add to its record 11 English FA Cups, 3 European Cups, 1 European Cup Winners' Cup, 1 FIFA Club World Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup and 4 English League Cups. Its Manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, is the most successful manager in British history. Off the field, the Club enjoys similar success with record turnover for a British club and the highest operating profit levels in world football.