This is great news for India’s footballing future. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) have signed an accord, under the Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP) wherein the former’s grassroots programme is to be supported in development by the Australian body.
The Grassroots programme is a tailor-made initiative to inculcate the development of football in young kids (boys and girls) between 6 and 12 years of age. It is overseen by the State Football Associations, incorporating stakeholders such as clubs, schools and other football development groups.
The strategic partnership comes under the aegis of the ASOP India initiative courtesy of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), which will see a dedication of 5 million AUD over a spectrum of five years, beginning 2009 and up to 2014.
The ASOP partnership comes as a direct result of the initiative taken by organizations and their contributions to Indian Sport, particularly minding the impact at grassroots levels. The ASOP partners receive funds from the ASC to provide structural work programmes, within the framework of a budget and pre-emptively, mutually agreed goal and objectives.
Another key facet in this accord will be the designing and evaluation of a first-of-a-kind Child Protection Policy within the Grassroots Programme. This is expected to spring pan India and encapsulate all Indian sports.
The handshake also, most importantly, includes auxiliary assistance from the FFA with regards to financial, administrative and technical issues for building capacity within the State Associations for supporting the Grassroots programmes, courses, festivals apart from a wide range of other activities.
“I’m sure FFA’s technical inputs will serve AIFF’s Grassroots Programme in a long way. The involvement and support of the Australian Government to strengthen the Grassroots and developing Players for the future has been appreciated by all. I thank FFA for the initiative and look forward to working with them,” expolated AIFF’s President and Union Minister, Praful Patel.
Mr. David Gallop, General Secretary, FFA, was also ecstatic while hopeful that India and Australia would gain much through the grassroots talent development front. “We are delighted to be entering into this partnership with the AIFF. Football is hugely popular in both our nations, and it is satisfying that we can work together to harness this great potential for the future of the game. We are very enthusiastic about the positive results this partnership will bring.”
“I welcome FFA into the partnership. AIFF’s Grassroots Programme under the technical expertise of our Technical Director Mr. Robert Baan is a significant impact. AIFF looks forward to working with FFA and the Australian Government. Football in the region will only benefit from the agreement,” expiated Kushal Das, General Secretary of the AIFF.
Peter Suckiling, Australian High Commissioner to India was also to add, “Football is becoming increasingly popular in India, and I’m very glad that the FFA is providing technical and professional support to help it continue to grow. Sport is one of the foundations of the relationship between India and Australia, and this agreement will strengthen it even further.”
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