The first ever Beach Soccer Committee meeting of the All India Football Federation was chaired by Jignesh Patil over video conferencing on Tuesday, December 6, 2022.
Present in the meeting along with the Chairperson were AIFF Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, Treasurer Kipa Ajay, Deputy Secretary General Sunando Dhar, Deputy Chairperson KI Nizammudin, Anup Patra, Bruno Coutinho, Md. Ikram, Upen Patel, Dilip Singh Shekhawat, Sanjay Mehshack, Santosh Kumar, and G.P. Palguna. Mr. Mulrajsinh Chudasama was present as a special invitee in the meet.
Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran said in his opening address, “I thank you all for joining us on this historic day, as we are poised to start the first-ever Beach Soccer National Championship in India. I am sure this Committee will frame policies that will take the game further forward, and it is our hope that we later form a National Team that will play in AFC Beach Soccer competitions, and maybe later our players will also feature on the global stage of beach soccer competitions.
“This committee is also in the presence of former India captain Mr. Bruno Coutinho, who himself was a part of the first and only Indian Beach Soccer team that had played in 2007. He has since also been involved in coaching in beach soccer and in organising matches in Goa as well. I am sure we can all draw upon his experiences too,” said the Secretary General.
“Many states do not have the technical ability or knowledge yet of beach soccer, and we want to improve that. We will invite the FIFA and the AFC to conduct workshops for the State FAs, referees, and coaches in India so that we can grow the game in a systematic way,” he said.
The Beach Soccer Committee, in its first order of the day, decided that the first ever Beach Soccer National Championship will be held in Surat, Gujarat, in the first half of February, the Committee recommended.
Committee Chairperson Mr. Patil said, “I would like to thank AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey for creating such opportunities for beach soccer, and for giving me this opportunity to take this game forward. India has many beaches, and this time Gujarat would have the honour of hosting this championship. I hope in the future, more states will come forward to host beach soccer.”
The Beach Soccer Committee recommended that the AIFF Secretariat frame the regulations for the Beach Soccer and invite all the state associations to send their entries for the tournament.
Recommendations also came in for the formation of a sub-committee that will investigate the operational aspects of hosting the first ever Beach Soccer National Championship in Surat. Mulrajsinh Chudasama, Bruno Coutinho, GP Palguna, KI Nizammudin, and Upen Patel were recommended to be its members. The other members of the Beach Soccer Committee would also advise the sub-committee on various operational aspects.
The Committee also felt that the beach soccer players should be of a different breed than regular footballers, and as such, recommended that those registered for professional tournaments like the Hero Santosh Trophy, the Hero ISL and the Hero I-League should not be allowed to participate in the Beach Soccer Championship.
It was also recommended that the AIFF invite AFC Beach Soccer Referee instructors to give offline seminars to Indian referees at least a week ahead of the championship. A seminar for the coaches of each team was also recommended, which would be held two days prior.