On Friday, the Youth Affairs and Sports Minister of India, Kiren Rijiju said that football needs to be developed at grassroots levels and this will happen by organising football leagues throughout the country.
In an online session held by Sports Authority of India (SAI) and All India Football Federation (AIFF) Rijiju addressed 700 online audience of football coaches all over the country.
Rijiju promised that at the state and district level, all the resources will be available to the football bodies.
He said, “Introducing football at the school level and organising local football leagues is the way forward to build interest in the game among children across the country. Once we mass-base the game, then we can start scouting for talent and building up elite footballers.”
He also emphasised about the proper agenda to take football on high level.
He said, “As the government, we can ensure that all resources will be made available and there will be enough financial support, but we need the football bodies at the state and district level to actively organise more events to popularise the sport and draw out more talent. We also need corporates to come forward to sponsor leagues at all levels. After the COVID-19 issue is over, I would like to meet the heads of the state federations, top coaches and technical officials so that we can draw up a plan.”
He further said, “Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Khelo India Scheme, which has caught the imagination of the country and is playing a big role in identifying and funding talent in all sports. We are going to fund many more football activities through Khelo India also.”
Igor Stimac, the coach of Indian football team also joined the online session.
Stimac said, “I would like to thank the Minister for the constant support that football has been receiving from the Ministry and SAI.”