Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government’s sports and youth services department and the Delhi Soccer Private Limited signed an agreement on Saturday to launch the Indian Super League club ‘Odisha FC’ here.

As part of the club’s operations in the state, the club’s first team, youth teams, youth football development program and grassroots football development program will be based in the state of Odisha. The state government will support the club to relocate to Bhubaneswar through provision of world-class infrastructure for the home matches of the team in the ISL and practice facilities, among other support needed by the club for smooth operations in the state. The government will also liaise with and support the club in its football development activities to further bolster the footballing landscape in the state.

The chief minister, while welcoming the agreement signed on Saturday, said “I congratulate and extend warm welcome to Odisha FC and Indian Super League. It is a significant development towards promotion of football in Odisha. I am sure this partnership would inspire our state’s footballers to pursue the beautiful game of football with greater commitment.”

The sports and youth services minister Tusharkanti Behera said,” It is a matter of pride for us to give the people of Odisha their own club that they can support and stand behind. Development of football in the state is of priority to us. Earlier this wee, we received the provisional clearance to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2020 in Bhubaneswar. We are also home to the India U-16 and India U-19 teams as part of our partnership with the All India Football Federation. This project is a significant step in furthering the outreach of football in state amongst budding footballers and sports lovers alike.”

Odisha FC owner Anil Sharma said, “I am honored Odisha FC will be a part of Odisha’s journey to develop a football community and further encourage sporting excellence in the state. Time and again, Odisha has demonstrated its passion for sports and we are proud to bring its own football club to the people of the state the addition of this new club in the Indian Super League – the topmost and most competitive football league of the country – will herald a new era of football in Odisha history and we thank the Government of Odisha for their support in this endeavor. We are committed to the development of football not only in the state but also the country as a whole and Odisha FC is another step closer to making India a global football superpowe.”