NEW DELHI, July 26: Manchester United fans in India may have been disappointed after the coronavirus pandemic forced the club to cancel its planned pre-season trip to India, but that doesn’t mean the ‘Red Devils’ have shelved the programme altogether.
Manchester United’s group managing director Richard Arnold confirmed that the club scrapped plans to play pre-season games in India when the coronavirus pandemic hit. But United still plan to visit India to play matches in the future, even though there will be no tour this summer because of the elongated Premier League campaign.
Arnold reiterated the desire to become the first Premier League team to play in India.
“The fans are all part of a big family. India is an important part of our family. We have been organising live screenings. For the first team to play in India, it has been on our minds for some time now. We planned to make a trip this summer, but we could not because of the Covid situation. But we will try to make a trip to India in the future soon. The situation, hopefully, will be much better by that time,” Arnold said, while speaking to the Shiv Nadar Foundation.
“We don’t only tend to think in terms of the market,” he added.
Last summer United spent time in Australia and Asia and were expected to play a game in India as part of this summer’s tour, though a three-month break in the competitive schedule between March and June due to Covid-19 meant games have continued well into July, the usual month for pre-season games.
The Premier League in India is very popular and many Indians are die-hard fans of top English clubs. Premier League sees India as one of its biggest markets, with a television viewership estimated at 150 million per season.
Several clubs run their academies in India, but the matches haven’t yet taken place. (TNN)