A lengthy journey to Bengaluru saw the directors set off on Monday before landing in India at around 8.30am local time - three and a half hours ahead of the time in Spain. The extensive agenda of activities began after lunch and consisted of a visit to the facilities of FC Bengaluru United, where our club officials were able to get to know the Indian team's headquarters and hold the first meetings with their directors. The welcome was hosted by businessman Sarojini Damodaran Shibulal and his partners Gaurav Manchanda - the owner of FCBU - and Debu Chaudhuri.
The meetings were split into several presentations, with the first one dedicated to Nimida Sports, a sports company which has FCBU as their star business, but which also has forays into sports such as cricket, hockey and basketball, which are widely followed in India. On the other hand, our club officials learned of the sporting position of Bengaluru United: they currently compete in the I-League 2 and aim to achieve promotion to the top flight, to which end they have just brought in one of the most promising local coaches, Khalid Ahmed Jamil. Despite good results, promotion has been difficult to achieve in the last two seasons, as COVID-19 restrictions have increased competition with the usual league system being replaced by a knockout system. Finally, the Sevilla delegation got a first-hand look at the grassroots football system in the emerging Indian game, with a complete structure by categories.
Wednesday's highlights include a meeting with local media, a visit to the Bangalore Football Stadium, where Bengaluru United play their matches, as well as the inauguration, in the afternoon, of the first Sevilla supporters' club in India.