KUALA LUMPUR: Zurich-based International Football Arena Ltd (IFA) intends to highlight the marketing benefits of football at its IFA 2009 business forum here next month.
The event, which has been organised annually since 1999, will serve as a platform to unite personalities from both the business and football arenas, chairman Marcel Schmid said.
Sportswoman and former news anchor Wan Zaleha Radzi, who will be a guest moderator at the forum, said it was timely to have a business conference on football. “Key decision makers in football will discuss how companies can achieve returns on their investments in football,” she said at the press launch of the IFA 2009 yesterday.
The forum is organised with the cooperation of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and sponsored by Chelsea Football Club (FC).
Another guest moderator, renowned football pundit Shebby Singh, said the forum would serve as an opportunity for Malaysia to learn how to develop its football leagues and clubs.
“We have the money and fan support but we lack the direction. We need the technical expertise to turn our talents into stars. The best way to do that is to pick the brains of successful football people,” he said.
He said most investors were put off by Malaysian football clubs as they lacked the proper infrastructure or development programmes to train and develop their talents.
“People don’t want to invest in our football because they don’t find the product attractive,” he said.
Schmid said he was surprised to discover that coverage of Malaysian football was not as prominent as for foreign football, like the Barclays Premier League (BPL).
“I was reading a prominent local newspaper the other day and there were four pages dedicated to the BPL, two pages for other (foreign) leagues but only half a page for Malaysian football. That astonished me,” he said.
Among the speakers confirmed for IFA 2009 are Chelsea FC board members Peter Kenyon and Bruce Buck, AFC president Mohammed Hammam; Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy and Barcelona FC senior youth coordinator Albert Capellas.
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