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Britain’s ‘Football Is Great’ Kicks Off in KL

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KUALA LUMPUR – When it comes to football, the English Premier League (EPL) ranks second to none.

So, it is no surprise that British authorities are using football to showcase the ‘VisitBritain’ campaign, and Malaysia has found a special place in promotional activities surrounding the game.

Malaysia is the first Asian country chosen by VisitBritain to run its ‘Football is Great’ campaign, and the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur today launched a six week interactive ‘Football is Great’ pop-up exhibition at Avenue K mall here, until May 1.

It features former Manchester City legend and Malaysian TV pundit, Peter Barnes and an exclusive rooftop screening of ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ during the campaign to promote its ‘Premier Skills’ programme and to encourage more women to participate in Malaysian football.

The British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Vicki Treadell said Malaysia was chosen because of the huge EPL fan base here.

“There is a passion for football in Malaysia, one that they share with United Kingdom and we just thought that this is the perfect place to bring the campaign.

“At the Manchester museum for football, there are 140,000 exhibits, so we thought we can spare a few to bring here to Malaysia to share with many Malaysians who might not be able to get to UK,” she said at the launch today.

The High Commission is conducting Premier Skills programme with Malaysian coaches on techniques and ways to bring on young players who had become a part of the campaign.

“It is not just about exhibits from the museum in England. It is also about working with coaches and helping to develop the beautiful game in this country,” said Treadell.

Premier Skills is a partnership between the EPL and the British Council which uses football as a tool to develop a brighter future for young people worldwide having already delivered tremendous impact in 21 countries until 2013.

Meanwhile, Barnes who work alongside specialist coaches to plan and develop innovative football coaching for children, said Malaysian football has been improving over the years.

“We took five boys every year to England to train with Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool and get experience in England. They are getting better and better and the technical ability is there,” he added.

The campaign also features a mini AstroTurf pitch to test footballing skills, coveted Barclays Premier League Trophy (19-22 March), Britain’s football heritage exhibition in courtesy of the National Football Museum, UK, souvenirs and signed T-shirts. – BERNAMA

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