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Fifa, Hollywood team up for movie trilogy

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ZURICH: Now fans of football can feast on action on the silver screen with the help of tinseltown magic. Fifa and some of the leading producers in the US film industry have announced a co-operation agreement.

This will set the pace for the 'worlds favourite sport' to be at the centre of a major Hollywood trilogy. The first film is scheduled to be launched next year.

Producer Lawrence Bender, who has produced virtually all Quentin Tarantino's films to date including the Oscar winner Pulp Fiction has joined forces with producers and former media and sports industry executives Mike Jefferies and Matt Barrelle. They are developing what is being billed as the most powerful football movie of all time.

The contract was signed yesterday between Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Bender. Goal! tells the fictional story of a Latino soccer player who rises from the slums of Los Angeles to join a small northern English club and eventually plays in the World Cup. The sequel in expected in 2005 and the third film in 2006. Reports have stated that Bender has likened the series to the Sylvester Stallone Rocky films which dealt with boxing. The budget for the first film has been pegged at $30 million.

With this agreement Pelé's words have proven prophetic. "Football is entertainment, and the entertainment industry will increasingly notice football in the future". Meanwhile an AP report indicates that Fifa will not have any direct financial involvement in the movie. Its role will involve endorsing and marketing the film, introducing film makers to its sponsors and providing technical support.

Talks for cooperation are at an advanced stage with English Premiership clubs, including Chelsea, Newcastle, Manchester United and Liverpool the report states. Actors chosen will attend an intensive training camp in the UK in mid-October.

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