In a significant development, the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) Academy based at Navi Mumbai has been conferred Two-Star Academy status by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The recognition was confirmed by AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John in a communication to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Friday, July 3. For RFYC, the accolade is another feather in the cap after it became the first youth academy in India to be granted a 5-star rating by the AIFF Academy Accreditation process in June, 2019.
The AFC expect rigorous criteria to be met before an academy is granted such recognition. Assessments are made on the basis of the academy’s ability to provide leadership, planning, organisation, staffing, recruitment, finance, facilities, coaching, player health, coaching and fitness among other requirements. (The detailed criteria can be found here). This is the first occasion that a residential academy based in India has been granted this status.
“To be granted Two-Star Academy status is indeed a proud moment for all of us at RFYC,” said Nita Ambani, Reliance Foundation Chairperson. “Our goal is to unlock the huge potential of Indian football. I firmly believe in order to accomplish that, we need to create a world class eco-system that helps funnel the young talent pool that exists across the country. This recognition by AFC will only strengthen our resolve to continue to strive towards excellence and ensure RFYC plays its part in putting Indian football on the global map. I thank AFC and AIFF for the honour.”
Since the inception of its journey in May 2015, RFYC has made rapid strides towards achieving its vision of creating not only the nation’s next generation of football stars but also future role models and leaders. Over the last five years, RFYC has emerged as not only the most well-equipped residential academy in the country but also as a nursery for budding talents scouted from across India. The rapid strides made were visible at the PL-ISL Next Generation Mumbai Cup earlier this year when the RFYC U-15 side defeated Manchester United U-14 1-0 to clinch third place, after having beaten Southampton Under -14 3-0 earlier in the tournament.
In fact, the first batch of students recruited at the academy will be graduating later this year and have already attracted interest from scouts of professional teams in the Indian Super League.
In another notable development, the AIFF’s application for full membership of the AFC Elite Youth Scheme has also been approved. The scheme is a key step in talent development, designed to help Member Associations to further develop their youth programmes. RFYC, in conjunction with the JSW Bengaluru FC Academy proudly assisted AIFF in its successful application. The JSW Bengaluru FC Academy has also been conferred Two-Star Academy status.
“I would also like to congratulate Reliance Foundation Young Champs Academy and Bengaluru FC Academy for receiving a two-star status,” said AIFF general secretary Kushal Das. “Their academies are truly remarkable and have been promising ones to deliver future stars of the sport.”
“It’s crucial for football development to have more top football academies,” added AIFF technical director Isac Doru. “RFYC Academy and JSW BFC Academy should be an inspiring story for all new academies in India.”