A delegation from FIFA and AFC met with the top officials of the All India Football Federation and representatives from its various State FAs and other stakeholders on Wednesday in New Delhi.
The delegation consisting of Nodar Akhalkatsi, Director, Strategic Projects & MA Governance, FIFA, Sarah Solemale, Senior MA Governance Service Manager, FIFA, Alessandro Gramagila, Strategic Development Manager, FIFA, Sonam Jigmi, Senior Manager, South Asia, MA Division, AFC, were warmly greeted at the Football House by AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey, and Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran.
On arrival in India, the FIFA-AFC delegation got straightaway into business and held a meeting with the Sports Authority of India (SAI), where Sandeep Pradhan, Director General, SAI was present.
After having intense discussions on the improvement of football in India at the grassroots level, and planning to make it broad based, the delegation met AIFF Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran and the respective State FAs of the AIFF immediately after.
During the three-day visit, the FIFA-AFC delegation will also call upon the Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Thakur, and other senior Ministry officials to discuss various development projects of Indian Football.
The focus of the meeting was to understand the practical problems the State FAs face in promoting the game across various sectors of the country. The meeting evolved around the strategies to meet the challenges ahead and instruments to overcome them.
AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey, after the meeting with the delegation, said, “Indian Football is at a crucial juncture, and it was great to see that FIFA and AFC are actively interested in its improvement. With the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup round the corner, I am sure we can all get together and set rolling the motions of progress.”
Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran said, “It is our aim to improve Indian Football from the ground up, and we want to leave no stones unturned in our efforts to do so. Our focus is to implement the planned roadmap, and it is a huge encouragement for us that the FIFA-AFC delegation has come to India for a discussion on the same. Their great support will only help us in achieving the goal at the earliest.”
The delegation will be in India for two more days, and they are set to meet the Hero ISL and Hero I-League clubs, commercial partners FSDL, and also with the National Team head coach Igor Stimac, apart from interacting with the media.