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John’s ISL promise

Guwahati: John Abraham, on Tuesday, named the Guwahati franchise of the Indian Super League — of which he is the co-owner — the North East United FC here on Tuesday.

The Bollywood star and 2014 Fifa brand ambassador for India, launched the franchise with the promise to shift the football capital of the region from Shillong to Guwahati.

Abraham and Larsing M Sawyan, the co-owners, said the team did not have a Guwahati-centric name as they wanted their team to have a pan-Northeast identity.

“Guwahati has won a franchise because of a grassroot development programme we have projected, and I am proud to be co-owner of this team from a region which is a strong force to reckon with in football,” John said.

“I am aware that various development programmes are in place for football in the Northeast. What we need to do is to implement a status development programme and make the rest of India know that football exists in the Northeast. We are a regional force with Guwahati as the spearhead,” he added.

“It is not that we are fielding a Guwahati team. We are fielding a Pan-Northeast outfit with Guwahati as the capital of the region. I personally feel nobody will mind it,” Larsing, owner of Shillong Lajong FC and also an All India Football Federation vice president, said.

“The modalities of the team constitution are yet to be finalised. However, we are going to rope in talented players from the region and at least nine under-19 India team players, including Allen Deuri of Assam,” John said.