Western India Football Association (WIFA) has signed a Rs 100 crore ten-year deal with Sporting Ace, a private agency, for the development of the game across Maharashtra.”This deal will involve holistic development of football across all verticals,” WIFA secretary Souter Vaz said at a media conference. The Maharashtra governing body feels the deal would help to promote the game at the grassroots level.”Football is popular in all districts of the state and this interest needs to be channelised. This is what the partnership is capable of achieving,” Vaz said.As part of the development process, WIFA is also planning an inter-region talent hunt called Maha Yudh and has also decided to revive the 122-year-old Rovers Cup, after more than a decade, with an overall prize fund of Rs 1 crore. “WIFA will continue to make Maharashtra a force to reckon with in Indian football,” said Vaz.The Rovers Cup will be played on the artificial turf at the Cooperage in Mumbai from July 27 to August 11 next year and would involve top teams from the I-League and foreign outfits. “AIFF has agreed to the dates of Rovers. It does not clash with any other event in the calendar,” WIFA CEO and former India goalkeeper Henry Menezes said.”In the past, we had signed up partners but there was no road map. Now there is both a road map and money to execute it. I reckon Maharashtra to be among the top football playing states in the coutnry in th next 4-5 years,” Menezes added.advertisementSporting Ace MD Sagar Pol Chowdhury and directors Kingshuk Gupta and Zulfikar Mohammed said their love for football prompted them to agree to the deal. “The marketing will be done by a well known company whose identity will be known later,” he added.