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Cliftonville to link up with Indian students

Lord Diljit Rana (right) chairman of Cordia Football Academy, India with Gerard Lawlor, chairman of Cliftonville Football Club, at the Crowne Plaza, Belfast
Lord Diljit Rana (right) chairman of Cordia Football Academy, India with Gerard Lawlor, chairman of Cliftonville Football Club, at the Crowne Plaza, Belfast

By Christopher Leebody

A group of under-14 students from India are to visit Belfast as part of a new international youth academy partnership with Cliftonville FC.

The cultural and sporting venture has been organised by Lord Diljit Rana, who founded the Cordia Football Academy in India and is one of Northern Ireland's most successful entrepreneurs.

The collaboration will see a group of young players from the Cordia Academy in Lord Rana's native Punjab travel to Belfast in October to train with Cliftonville's youth academy.

The businessman, who has lived in Northern Ireland since 1966, is the founder of Andras Hotels, which includes the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn.

Speaking about the project, Lord Rana said: "I am delighted to be working with Cliftonville FC given the club's long-standing, respected status and its great work with local youth.

"My observation over many years is regardless of where in the world they live, people are all fundamentally the same. They need support, and they need someone to believe in their dreams. Those basic human requirements are the same, whether you are from Belfast or the Punjab. This project will foster teamwork and encourage self-belief and build global connections for the future."

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