Bayern Munich to launch academy in India

KOLKATA, India - Bayern Munich want to nurture talent in India by setting up a football academy there, and not just tap into the country's growing economy, the club's executive director Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on Wednesday.

The Bundesliga club will collaborate with the regional West Bengal government in cricket-crazy India's football-loving hub to set up their first academy outside Germany later this year.

"India is among the biggest countries in the world and I believe it is a good time now that such a country is ready to participate in a World Cup," Rummenigge said.

Bayern Munich would offer technical support to the academy, he said.

The German side played India's oldest club Mohun Bagan in a friendly in Kolkata in May, with 120,000 Indian fans witnessing German keeper Oliver Kahn in his last club match before retiring.

Asian officials are looking at ways to stimulate the growth of football in India, dubbed a "sleeping giant" by Sepp Blatter, president of world football's governing body FIFA.

India has the world's fastest growing economy after China and has attracted interest from leading clubs from England and other countries who are looking to tap into it.