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In his speech at FICCI's GOAL 2013 convention, AIFF technical director Rob Baan spoke about his master plan and the problems that Indian football is facing

All India Football Federation's [AIFF] technical cirector Rob Baan, speaking at FICCI's GOAL 2013 Convention on Indian Football, highlighted the importance of sports in India and how investing in the game is very much a viable business.

"Football is business. You can make a business out of football. If we look at the salary of the foreign players here in India, they make around US$500,000 a year. I think this is business," he said.

"If we only talk about money and business, then we should not talk about football because the idea is attracting young kids. Kids are not attracted to sports, they find it boring and because of which many get into criminal situations. So the idea is making them a better human being with the help of sports."

Baan - formerly a technical director at Football Federation Australia - lamented the lack of sporting icons in India in the game that could grab the attention of children.

"What we need in India is icons. The icon in India is Sunil Chhetri, but what we read recently is that he has come back from Sporting Lisbon [B side] to play for Churchill Brothers, so was his spell a successful one? I must come to a conclusion that it wasn't," he said.

"If he had played for their first team and played in Champions League etc, then it could have been termed as a successful one.

"India needs icons and no, they should not come from Africa or anywhere else but from India. Who can be the Indian Ronaldo or Indian Messi?

"Who can be the first coach to train in Japan or Europe? These are the challenges. We need icons to promote football in India and without icons nothing is possible and to create icons we need money so that brings us back to the business part of the game. You need to get sponsors attracted to a youth development program and when the program is up and running we will produce more icons."

Baan stressed the importance of having youth development programs, because only then would his master plan, titled 'Lakshya 2022', bring results.

"To make the master plan work, the conclusion is that we need money and what really is necessary in this country is that we start grassroot programs so that we give all the kids who want to play, the possibility of playing football," he said.

"We have recently started our first programme in Mizoram, which is a great success because on the first day 500 kids showed up with their parents for participating in this program."

Baan criticised the I-League clubs for their lack of interest in youth development which has ultimately resulted in the national side not benefiting in the long run.

"We need a budget to be invested in a development officer to start the grass-root project. We need in each I-League club a youth development program," he said.

"I-League clubs' owners only invest their money on the foreigners. They want short term success because
of which no money is going into the youth development program that means we will not get anywhere.

"State associations could develop a youth development program but they have no man power and budget."