Union Minister for Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan, attended the kick-off programme for the distribution of footballs as part of the Football for Schools (F4S) in Cuttack, Odisha, on Sunday, December 3, 2023. He distributed footballs at PM Shri Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Mundali, Cuttack, under this programme, which is run by FIFA.
The All India Football Federation President, Kalyan Chaubey, was present on the occasion.
The Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education, is supported by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Sports Authority of India (SAI) in the implementation of this programme in India. Officials of the Ministry and other agencies involved were also present at the function. Shri Pradhan formally inaugurated the programme by kicking off a football.
To implement the F4S programme in India, FIFA is contributing more than 11 lakh footballs for distribution in various schools across India. A total of 8,60,000 footballs have already reached India. The kick-off of the distribution of balls started today in Cuttack. Gradually, the footballs will be distributed throughout the country in a phased manner. More than 1.50 lakh schools will be the beneficiaries of this programme. District NVS will be the nodal distribution centre throughout the country. Footballs will be distributed based on enrolment in upper primary to Higher Secondary level schools with playgrounds. In the first phase, a total of 16 districts from five states (Odisha, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Kerala) have been selected for the distribution of the footballs.
An MoU was earlier signed between the Ministry of Education, AIFF and FIFA on October 30, 2022. Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya is the nodal organisation for the F4S programme.
F4S aims to contribute to the education, development, and empowerment of around 700 million children across the world. It seeks to make football more accessible to both boys and girls by incorporating football activities into the education system in partnership with relevant authorities and stakeholders.
Through the F4S programme, the aim has also been to significantly broaden the accessibility of football for students, regardless of gender, within the school setting while seamlessly integrating football-related activities into the education system in collaboration with various stakeholders. By fostering partnerships at different levels, the programme wishes to instil a sense of enthusiasm for the sport, laying the foundation for a lasting sports culture that goes beyond individual schools. It will not only introduce the joy of playing football to students but will also infuse values of teamwork, discipline, and fitness, contributing to their holistic development.