Nigel Empson quits FMMI to focus on Indian sport

Nigel Empson, founder of FMMI, has resigned his positions as CEO and Director of global football-business specialists FMMInternational to concentrate fully on building business in Indian sport

"Developing FMMI from scratch was a huge challenge, particularly during the first eighteen months in which we had to establish our place in the market. Over the last two years however, FMMI has seen its turnover and profitability increase dramatically, and it has acquired a very impressive portfolio of clients. In these circumstances I feel the time is right for me to move on and take up a fresh challenge," he told Asian Football Business Review in a prepared statement.

"I see huge potential in Indian sport and I want to play a leading role in helping the nation to realise that potential. Knowing China as I do I feel that India has the capability to compete with the biggest and the best in Asia, both in terms of its teams and in respect of attracting tournaments and events. Of course there needs to be a huge and sustained investment in coaching and facilities, but I sense that the awareness of these needs and the willingness to invest are developing."

Empson put together the groundbreaking partnerships between Leicester City FC, who were a Premier League club at the time, and Kingfisher East Bengal and the All India Football Federation. These saw LCFC COO Paul Mace fly to India to ink the agreements, and he was followed some months later by Academy Director Jon Rudkin who helped select and coach the India U17 squad in Kolkata

He then took East Bengal to compete at the Walkers Stadium in the Pepsi-Max Challenge against City and leading teams from Spain and Portugal. The special nature of the occasion was recognised by the British government with a reception at the House of Commons attended by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, while Defence Minister Jeff Hoon watched the Leicester City versus East Bengal match which resulted in a narrow and controversial 1-0 win for the home side

Empson arranged for Leicester City to host the India U17 squad for two weeks of intensive training and matches against the Academy sides of Leicester City, Stoke City and Birmingham City whom they defeated 1-0.

More recently Empson was instrumental in bringing AC Milan’s U18 team to India to play matches in Kolkata and Mumbai as part of Festa Italiana, the annual festival to promote trade between Italy and India.

Under Empson’s leadership, in less than four years FMMI grew to become a formidable player in the global football-business market. Its client base includes nine members of the G14 group of elite European clubs.

See also: AC Milan's Leonardo says India 'much like' Brazil (24 Nov)