Nita Ambani, Chairperson, Football Sports Development Limited and Reliance Foundation announced two key initiatives aimed at propelling growth of football in India, especially amongst girls.
Football Sports Development Limited will kick off a four-team Under-17 Women’s Tournament and organise Children’s Leagues starting 2019-20 season.
Mrs. Ambani revealed the plans while addressing the Hero Indian Super League club owners’ meet in Mumbai on Thursday.
Over 100 girls will participate in a four-team format for the U17 Women’s tournament organised under the aegis of AIFF. India is hosting the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India in October 2020. The Under-17 Women’s Tournament is aimed to provide an opportunity for the players to showcase their talent for selection to the Indian team.
The tournament is scheduled in mid-November. It will be telecasted live on Star Sports, Hotstar and Jio TV.
The ISL Children’s League is yet another significant initiative declared in the meeting to propel the growth of football in the country. ISL Children’s Leagues will feature over 38,000 children under the 6, 8, 10 and 12-year age groups across 12 states over the next three years. In the first phase, the Children’s Leagues will commence in three states, i.e. West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, covering 15 districts, each having its own league.
By 2021-22, the Children’s Leagues are expected to have a footprint in 40 districts across 12 states with participation from over 38,000 children.
Nita Ambani said, “It’s my vision to introduce millions of children to multiple sports disciplines. Over the years, through the initiatives of Hero ISL Club academies, Reliance Foundation Young Champs and Reliance Foundation Youth Sports, we have made significant progress in promoting football, identifying talent and providing a professional environment for young India to showcase their skills. Over 9 million children have been impacted through our RF Youth Sports and RF Young Champs program.”
“Hosting of the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in 2017 has ignited the interest amongst youngsters towards football and I am certain that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020 will further accelerate this journey. Through the two initiatives of Women’s U17 Tournament and Children’s Leagues, we sincerely hope to further popularise the sport in India.”