In good news for football development in India, the All India Football Federation will launch a national level Under-13 League next year.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das informed the media earlier today that the new Under-13 League would be open to Under-13 teams from the Indian Super League, the I-League and academies certified by the federation.
“AIFF stays committed to taking the sport to the kids and we feel 2017 is the best calendar year to launch the Under-13 league as it’s also the year of the FIFA U-17 World Cup which will be hosted in India,” Das said.
“After the success of Under-19 I-League and Under-15 League, the Under-13 League is the next step in the structure which takes us closer to the grassroots,” he added.
AIFF Technical Director Scott O’Donell said the Under-13 League would be one in the “right direction”.
“Playing competitive football plays a big role in a player’s development. There are some school tournaments for that age-group but with most of them being knockout ones, the kids lose out when their team loses,” he said.
“The Under-13 League will ensure that the players get to play a minimum number of games,” O’Donell added.
The AIFF is currently following an academy certification system which would ensure that academies with the right philosophy, qualified coaches and necessary infrastructure would be given preference.