International footballing body FIFA is to lend its support to Goal!, the ambitious football trilogy being put together by Pulp Fiction producer Lawrence Bender and Milkshake Films.
Full details of the co-operative agreement between FIFA and the film's producers are set to be unveiled at a press conference on Thursday in Zurich, which will be attended by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Bender and Goal!'s other producers - former media and sports industry executives Mike Jefferies and Matt Barrelle - have been holding talks with a number of English clubs in recent weeks about collaborating in the films.
Premiership clubs Newcastle, Manchester United and Liverpool have for weeks been vying to star in the film. Chelsea, which has been on a high profile spending spree since being taken over earlier this summer by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, also joined the shortlist two weeks ago. Its prospects improved this week when Abramovich lured Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon to the club. The winning club is set to be announced next week.
Both Fifa and the big Premiership clubs are keen to get involved as they believe the films - if successful - could give football massive exposure in key markets such as the US. The film is also likely to heavily feature the brand of the chosen club around the world, which could prove highly lucrative in terms of rights, spin-offs and merchandising.
For the producers, a key factor in the choice of clubs is the potential to tie-up with their sports sponsors - Nike in the case of Manchester United and Adidas for Newcastle.
"The bottom line is sponsorship and trying to find smarter ways to reach sponsors' core demographic and films provide that opportunity," said Matt Barrelle. "We try to work out films from the point of what the market would demand, and not the other way round, which is the norm in the film industry."
The first film in the Goal! trilogy tells the story of a young Latino player new to the Premiership, while the second follows his move to the continent - with the club rumoured to be either Barcelona or Real Madrid - while the third sees him at the 2006 World Cup.
While no talent is attached yet, a first draft has been delivered and shooting is scheduled to start in February 2004 for release in the fourth quarter. The last film is set to coincide with the 2006 World Cup.