English Premiership

Chopra gives up British passport

2014-09-03 10:23
Michael Chopra (Getty Images)
Michael Chopra (Getty Images)

Mumbai - Former Newcastle United striker Michael Chopra is ready to surrender his British passport to represent the country of his origin, India, and realise his dream of playing senior-level international soccer.

The 30-year-old Chopra, whose grandparents moved to England from Jalandhar in Punjab in the 1950s, has represented England at the age-group tournaments.

He was approached by the All India Football Federation in the past to play for the national team but things did not work out.

Chopra qualifies to play for India due to his parentage as per FIFA rules but government regulations in India allow only a person holding a valid passport to represent the national team.

"I was going to play for them four years ago. But at that time I was only 26 and I was too young to give up my British passport and travel around the world at that age," Chopra told Reuters in an interview.

"I just had a little boy that was born and things like that, so it would have been difficult. My boy is six now and he has grown up and understands what his dad has got to do.

"So I plan to move to India and give up my British citizenship and get an Indian passport to play for the national team and take them forward."

Chopra, who has also played for a host of other Premier League clubs, was last month picked by the Kerala Blasters, co-owned by cricketing great Sachin Tendulkar, for the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL).

The eight-franchise ISL will run from Oct. 12 to Dec. 20 in its inaugural edition but Chopra sees a future for himself beyond that in India's national league (I-League).

"That's my plan. I have spoken to my agency about my future about what I will be doing after the ISL. The prospect of playing in the I-League excites me as well," Chopra, who also has plans to open academies in India, said.

"And also to play for the national team as well. Hopefully things come along and I can do all three.

"I have never been to India before so everybody is very excited. I have family over in India and everybody is texting me and calling me asking when I am coming over.

"If my grandparents were alive now, the smile on their faces would have been special. They always supported my playing football in England so for me to go back to India and play football over there would have been special for them."


Cricket-obsessed India languishes at 150th in the world rankings, a state of affairs that has prompted FIFA president Sepp Blatter to dub the country of 1.2 billion the 'sleeping giant' of world soccer.

Chopra, who has also played in Champions League for Newcastle, is aware of soccer's ground realities in India and is confident he can easily adjust.

"The Indian team has got some good players. If I can help them raise their profile and make them a better team - that's my aim," Chopra said.

"Obviously it will be nice to play international football and play against teams I have never played against. It will be good for my career."

The ISL has attracted some of the familiar names in world soccer and Chopra believes the league will change the face of the game in India.

"Everybody talks about cricket in India but I am pleased with the positive reports of the first edition of the ISL and hopefully I can boost it further," he said.

"There are some real class players that will play the tournament and maybe more players will join next year.

"And once the league starts I think there will be lot more kids wanting to play football rather than cricket."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

29 October 2016
Sunderland v Arsenal, Stadium of Light 13:30
Manchester United v Burnley, Old Trafford 16:00
Middlesbrough v Bournemouth, Riverside Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v Hull City, Vicarage Road 16:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City, White Hart Lane 16:00
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Selhurst Park 18:30
30 October 2016
Everton v West Ham United, Goodison Park 15:30
Southampton v Chelsea, St. Mary's Stadium 18:00
31 October 2016
Stoke City v Swansea City, Britannia Stadium 22:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Will Jose Mourinho lead Manchester United to the English Premiership title in 2016/17?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.