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Atletico Madrid link up with Southall FC - no, it's not a wind-up

Giants of La Liga to work with Perivale club - average gate, 50

Coming to your local Perivale club: Fernando Torres (R)

What next for Southall FC?

They have the man who discovered Raheem Sterling on their coaching staff, and now the club has linked up with Atletico Madrid. Yes, that one: the 2014 La Liga Champions as well as Champions League runners-up the same season.

The incredible stroke of luck comes as result of the Spanish giants hoping to tap into a potential lucrative Indian market in the future.

Game time: Southall in action at Hanwell Town where they groundshare

The Spartan South Midlands Division One side, who attract an average gate of 50, has not won anything since 1984, but Atletico want to support Southall’s ambition of developing British Asian footballers.

Visits from first-team footballers are on the cards, including ex-Chelsea star Fernando Torres, as well as other coaching initiatives.

Germán Robles González, director general of the Atletico Madrid Foundation, visited Southall recently where he met club officials.

Mr González told the Evening Standard: “You might think this is a very odd marriage but Atletico is a very forward-thinking club and we work with different partners all over the world.

Home to Atletico: Vicente Calderon Stadium, Madrid

“I have had a wonderful time in Southall, it has been an extraordinary experience. We believe there is a huge potential for football in this area and I hope that our work is the start of something good.”

Along with others, Atletico believe that uncovering a British Asian footballer might help them achieve this. The Spaniards already co-own Atletico de Kolkata, which plays in the Indian Super League, the country’s richest football competition.

The ground-breaking partnership came about through business links Southall FC owner Channa Singh Gill has in Spain.

Gill said: “For a little club like ours to be connected with one of the world’s most famous football names is amazing. Who would believe it? This is a fantastic opportunity for our players and coaches to learn from the best in the business.”

He also complained the club was struggling to attract young Asian players, despite Southall's presence in one of the most densely Asian populated areas in the UK.

He added: “Some of Atletico’s star names could be coming to Southall in the near future. If this doesn’t get local youngsters interested in football then I don’t know what will.”

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