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Govt. puts its weight behind AIFF to host FIFA U-17 World Cup

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MUMBAI: FICCI’s ‘Goal 2015’, the third International Convention on Football Business, kicked off with All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das, describing three monumental events -- the strengthening of the I-League, launch of the Indian Super League and planning under way for India to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup – as “game changers” for Indian football.

Ministry of Youth Affairs sports director Vivek Narain said, “On its part, the Government of India pledged full support to supplement the efforts of AIFF in hosting the World Cup for which it has earmarked Rs 95 crore.”

Narain said that the Government was looking for more active participation from the private sector for beefing up the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF), using the vehicle of CSR.

NSDF has been established for mobilising resources from non-government resources, including private/public sector and non-resident Indians for the promotion of sports and games in the country. The funds available under NSDF are mainly used towards supplementing government assistance to the elite sportspersons who are medal prospects at major international events, for meeting their specific coaching/training requirements by way of provision of scientific support and training within the country and abroad, purchase of equipment, participation in international competitions etc. The objectives of the fund also include construction of sports infrastructure, taking up research projects and development studies and promotion of international cooperation. 

FICCI Sports Committee chairman Sanjiv Paul said that Indian football is ushering in a new dawn. The Indian Super League seemed to inject fresh energy into the system and the country is witnessing unearthing of talent like never before. FICCI, he said, salutes this new found fervour for sport in general and football in particular amongst fans whose passion is driving these to new heights.

He said that the corporate sector has shown a lot of confidence by investing incrementally year-on-year. The efforts are visible at the state and district level that has helped increase the number of participants and supporters of the sport within regions.

“As per our estimates, more than 20 lakh players play the game across the country. Thus lot of opportunities for entrepreneurs present in this room to reach out and connect,” he pointed out.

Head of Public Affairs, Premier League Tim Vine said, “There was huge potential for football to grow in India and his organisation was keen to assist in every aspect of the game. The Premier League was conducting a series of workshops on football across India on topics such as governance, youth development, stadium management and media relations, etc. It was crucial that the game develops from grassroots upwards.”

FICCI secretary general A Didar Singh added, “The export of sports goods from India is valued at Rs 1100 crore and the country is today counted among one of the largest football manufacturers and exporters in the world. It could well become the largest exporter with greater effort provided that there is a conducive environment available. ‘Invest India’ for attracting FDI and ‘Make in India’ for making India a global manufacturing hub provide ample opportunities for catapulting the sports goods industry, especially the football business, to another orbit.”

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