We will be working on our budget to stand with the State Associations again: AIFF chief

All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel on Saturday said that the AIFF will be sanctioning a financial grant to the state associations soon.

“Under exceptional circumstances, we did offer a Covid solidarity fund last year, and we will be working on our budget to stand with the state associations again this year,” he said during AIFF’s Annual General Body Meeting here.

The President also cited examples of support from governments of West Bengal, Maharashtra, Odisha, Jharkhand, Kerala in a joint endeavour to take Indian Football forward together.

“I urge all state associations to impress their state governments and work closely with them. Football is a global sport, and we are indebted to the support coming from certain State Governments,” Patel expressed.

“The National Centre of Excellence in Kolkata will be a professional house where we can house our National Teams under one roof, and train,” he informed.

“The Football Maharashtra Centre of Excellence, CIDCO in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, is being developed by the Government of Maharashtra, and is on the same lines of the AIFF Centre of Excellence in Kolkata.”

Senior vice-president Subrata Dutta, vice-presidents Manvendra Singh, along with members from 25 State Associations, and two associate members – RSPB, and SSCB attended the meeting physically, as did AIFF treasurer ZA Thakur, along with representatives from FSDL and other AIFF stakeholders.

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das joined the meeting virtually, along with vice-presidents KMI Mather, Subhash Chopra and Larsing Sawyan — all of whom attended the meeting online, along with members from 7 other State FAs, FIFA Development Officer Prince Rufus, and observers from the Asian Football Confederation.

The AIFF president said, “We have already expressed our interest to host India’s group league matches for the final qualifying round of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 in June 2022, and we await a decision from AFC.”

“Furthermore, to compensate for the women’s team losing out a chance to showcase their skills in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, we are working to get an entry for them in an elite UEFA tournament.”

They also observed one minute’s silence as a mark of respect to legends of Football who passed away both in India and at the global level.

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