The hosting by the All India Football Federation of three major international competitions within the next 18 months, among them the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, and the engagement activities planned around it have been the catalyst for the strategic decision by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to support Football in India.
For the third time in three months, Football played an important part in the Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi´s address to the Nation. During his Mann Ki Baat earlier today, the PM acknowledged the increase of the popularity of Football in India and called for the creation of the right atmosphere for its development.
“Last time around, I had talked about FIFA U17 World Cup and I have received suggestions from all over the country. I see the outset of a Footballing atmosphere here – a lot of people are taking the initiative and founding a team of their own. I have received thousands of suggestions on Narendra Modi mobile app. It might be the case that a lot of people do not play the game but to know of the interest of millions of youngsters in the game was a very pleasant experience for me. Our affinity for Cricket was well known to me but the growing interest for Football itself indicates a fruitful future,” said PM Modi on his Mann Ki Baat address to the Nation.
The strategic approach that PM Modi has taken towards Football has come on the backdrop of continuous talks between the governing body of Football in the country, the All India Football Federation (AIFF), and different levels of Government of India to put forward very ambitious plans for the development of the sport.
“It is no coincidence that Prime Minister has been so outspoken lately about Football. This is the result of the continuous work that the AIFF has put into highlighting the unique opportunity to create a Football revolution in India, taking advantage of all the work that we have already put into increasing the interest for the game in India. Fortunately, Government of India has taken a strategic decision to support the AIFF in the popularization of Football across the Nation and we are confident that this support will increase the AIFF´s capability of reaching with Football to the whole breadth of the Nation,” expressed AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das.
As the nodal body for Football in the Nation, the AIFF has already indicated certain benchmarks that will help in this objective. Hosting two major international Tournaments (in the name of the AFC U-16 Championship in Goa and the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017), and planning for a third one (BRICS U-17 Championship in Goa in October) are just examples of the efforts being made by the AIFF that have encountered support by PM Modi and the rest of the Government of India.
“We are hosting the AFC U-16 Championship in Goa in September, Government has indicated its full support to have a BRICS U-17 Championship in October and there is an extremely ambitious plan to take Football to every State of India through a grassroots and school program that we will be running during 2017. All of this will set up the atmosphere for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, the most important Football event in the country to date, and in which the Government of India has been very actively supporting us in our obligation to deliver a fantastic Event and to make it a grand success. Very exciting times lie ahead for Indian Football,” said Javier Ceppi, Tournament Director for the AFC U-16 Championship and the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.
“We take the responsibility trusted onto us of developing Football in the Country with great hopes and we are sure that the cooperation we have established with Government of India in this sense will yield great results, that will allow the AIFF to set in motion all the plans we have to keep increasing Football popularity in India. The right elements are coming into place to set in motion a true revolution for Football in our country,” added AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das.
Picture Courtesy: http://pmindia.gov.in/en/event-gallery/