MUMBAI: Rajesh Wadhawan Group owned Pune franchise of the Indian Super League (ISL) today announced the launch of its Team name - Football Club Pune City (FC Pune City) - and it's brand identity. FC Pune City has further announced a strategic tie-up with Italian football major, ACF Fiorentina, and signing up former Juventus star David Trezeguet as the Team's marquee player.
Mr Gaurav Modwel, CEO of FC Pune City said, “Indian football is at a point of inflexion, and FC Pune City shall leave no stone unturned in our endeavour to fulfil millions of dreams of players, fans and of football lovers. We shall uphold our motto of Passion, Honour and Glory on the pitch and off it as well - by engaging with the community and working purposefully at grassroot level. Our partnership with ACF Fiorentina is a step in this direction.”
Nearly a century old, ACF Fiorentina boasts of a robust legacy of being among the top five clubs that have played the maximum number of Serie A matches. The Club, which is better known as Viola in Italy was placed 4th in the just concluded Serie A season, behind Juventus, Roma & Napoli and ahead of Inter Milan & AC Milan.
FC Pune City has also roped in Italian Franco Colomba as the head coach for the team. Colomba who before coming on board with FC Pune City was serving as the manager for Serie B club Padova. The 59-year old Italian manager has previously been in charge of famous Italian clubs like Napoli, Cagliari, Verona, Parma over a golden 23 year career in management and is one of the respected names in football management in Italy.
In addition to the tie-up with ACF Fiorentina, and roping in Italian Franco Colomba as the head coach, FC Pune City has also signed up with former Juventus star David Trezguet as its marquee player. Trezeguet, French footballer, has been a World Cup and European Championship winner with France and also holds the distinction of being the third highest goal scorer ever for his country. The star French striker began his career with Club Atlético Platense at the age of eight and has played for AS Monaco, Juventus and River Plate. In his 11 year stint with Italian heavyweights Juventus he became one of their most bankable players, finishing his second season at the Club with 24 goals, making him the highest goal scorer of Seria A that season. Trezeguet has scored more than 300 goals and has won individual honors like Serie A Footballer of the Year; Serie A top goal scorer of the Year and has also been part of the FIFA 100 list of "greatest living footballers" compiled by Pele.
Mr Modwel adds, "By joining hands with the legends of football, FC Pune City brings international expertise to the Team to nurture young talent and hopefully take football to a different level in a country where all other sports have been eclipsed by cricket.
FC Pune City draws it's inspiration from the pride of the city - Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj - building a fort for defense. In football, who better can imbibe defense than the Italians."
FC Pune City's logo depicts this coming together of Pune and Florence (orange and violet). The flag signifies the importance of "winning with passion and honour" leading to glory.
FC Pune City boasts of international signing like Goalkeeper Emanuele Belardi and Italian Defender Bruno Cirillo to ensure that the Team's rich blend of domestic players - Lenny Rodrigues, Dharamraj Ravanan, Ashutosh Mehta, Joaquim Abranches, Pritam Kotal, Manish Maithani, Israil Gurung, Deepak Devrani, Tapan Maity, Arindam Bhattacharya, Anupam Sarkar, Pratik Shinde, Lalit Thapa and Mehrajuddin Wadoo - get a taste of international football in India.
Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex (Balewadi Stadium) will serve as the home ground for the team. The Belwadi stadium is a new-age international sports complex with a seating capacity of 12000 spectators. It is also one of the 8 stadiums selected for the Fifa 2017 Youth World Cup.
According to Mr Sandro Mencucci, CEO, ACF Fiorentina, “It is indeed a great opportunity for us to associate with FC Pune City, as it is a platform for us to nurture football talent amongst India's youth. Pune is a young and vibrant city in India and is a great destination, synonymous to the definition of football - young, vibrant, global and youthful. ACF Fiorentina has tirelessly worked towards growing the level of football in Italy and through this tie-up we only hope to help the much needed growth of the wonderful sport of football in a country as beautiful and lively as India."
The Indian Super League, set to kick off in October 2014, is expected to bring about a major facelift to the sport of football in India and aims to bring Indian football at par with global standards.
FC Pune City
FC Pune City is the Pune franchise participating in the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL). The Rajesh Wadhawan Group and Bollywood star Salman Khan own the franchise. Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex known as Balewadi Stadium is the primary home ground of the Team, which has a strategic partnership with Italian football club ACF Fiorentina.
The Team has signed former Juventus striker David Trezguet as the marquee player, with Bruno Cirillo, Emanuele Belardi, Daniele Magliocchetti and Davide Colomba as the other overseas players. Lenny Rodrigues, Dharmaraj Ravanan, Ashutosh Mehta, Joaquim Abranches, Pritam Kotal, Manish Maithani, Israil Gurung, Deepak Devrani, Tapan Maity, Arindam Bhattacharya, Anupam Sarkar, Pratik Shinde, Lalit Thapa and Mehrajuddin Wadoo were selected in the draft of Indian players of the Pune Team.
Former Serie A player Franco Colomba is the head coach of the Team and will be assisted by Giovanni Mei, also from Italy and Iuri Bartoli. Piero Spinosa is the goalkeeping coach and Stefano Desideri is the team manager - both from Italy.
The Rajesh Wadhawan Group prior to this has been associated with sports primarily cricket, to nurture the spirit of sporting in India. With the football foray, the Group aims to develop and grow football in India. They are committed to making a difference not just at the senior level but also at the grassroot level.
ACF Fiorentina, commonly referred to as simply Fiorentina, is a professional Italian football club from Florence, Italy. Founded by a merger in 1926, Fiorentina have played at the top level of Italian football for the majority of their existence - only four clubs have played in more Serie A seasons.
Fiorentina have won two Italian Championships, in 1955–56 and again in 1968-69, as well as winning six Coppa Italia trophies and one Italian Super Cup. On the European stage, Fiorentina won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1960–61 and lost the final one year later. They finished runners-up in the 1956–57 European Cup, losing against Real Madrid, and also came close to winning the UEFA Cup, finishing as runners-up in the 1989–90 season.
Since 1931, the Club has played at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, which currently has a capacity of 47,282. The stadium has used several names over the years and has undergone several renovations. Fiorentina are known widely by the nickname Viola, a reference to their distinctive purple colour.