Delhi Dynamo FC footballers celebrate their equalising goal during ISL match against Atletico de KolkataISL

AIFF's Kushal Das: Infrastructure is a problem in Delhi

All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das cited infrastructure and a lack of long-term vision as the major factors hampering the growth of football in Delhi. 

On Monday, in an E-Summit organized by Football Delhi, the governing body of football in India's capital city, Das said that the Indian FA and Football Delhi can work together to improve the city's output in Indian football. 

"Infrastructure is a problem in Delhi. After the U-17 World Cup, we have stadiums so much superior to the Ambedkar Stadium. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is not a football stadium. The experience (there) was so bad (during ISL games)," the AIFF official said. 

He further added, "The capital is very important, so are the other cities. The AIFF has the structure and the knowledge base to help the state association. We can create a structure that is necessary for football to thrive again in Delhi. It will take some time but if you come to us, we are very willing to help."

Das also said that in order to attract sponsors and sell the idea of a Delhi-based club, Football Delhi has to come up with a strategic plan. 

Kushal Das AIFF General Secretary

"The football culture is sporadic in our country. Delhi had some sort of a culture, not anymore. There are people who are interested in football but you have to give them a strategic vision that this is what we want to achieve. Without that plan, it is very difficult. There are people who are interested and have money but you have to give them confidence.

"That is why it is very important that Football Delhi comes and works with the AIFF. If we work together, we can come up with a vision document. With that, you approach someone who has passion and money."

Towards the end of the virtual conference, Das was asked whether the AIFF could consider giving special exemptions or grants to the parties who are ready to run a club in the capital. He responded, "I don't think that would be fair at all. (It would be) Absolutely unfair. The AIFF has the technical know-how to support Football Delhi in terms of competitions, creating vision document, youth development and grassroots.

"AIFF conducts 1500 plus games in the leagues and about 32000 baby leagues (done by the operators, controlled by the AIFF). We have a very efficient I-League department, we can help them understand and learn what needs to be done."