AIFF promises ‘incredible state’ of Indian football by 2047

While presenting the strategic roadmap, Shaji Prabhakaran said there would be changes in every aspect of Indian football. He also promised two FIFA standard stadiums and said w omen would be on par with men. 

Published : Jan 07, 2023 16:47 IST

File Photo: AIFF general secretary Shaji Prabhakaran.
File Photo: AIFF general secretary Shaji Prabhakaran. | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

File Photo: AIFF general secretary Shaji Prabhakaran. | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has unveiled its Vision 2047 project, a road map to position Indian football in ‘incredible state’ by the centenary celebrations of the country’s Independence.

Addressing the media on Saturday, the president of AIFF, Kalyan Chaubey stressed that it would be a collective effort, as he said, “it is our right to dream and our duty to do everything it takes to fulfil that dream. Together, we can aspire to take Indian football to peaks never scaled before.”

“We as a team came to the conclusion that 2047 is a momentous year for India and football should not lack behind because other areas are going very fast in India. 25 years down the line, we will see an incredible state of football in India,” said Shaji Prabhakaran, the general secretary of AIFF, while presenting the strategic roadmap on Saturday in Delhi.

The project, broken into six four-year plans, conceived in consultation with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the International Football Federation (FIFA), aims to strengthen key areas from the grassroots level to infrastructure development, apart from working with a renewed focus for women’s football in the country, through a four-tier league.

The basic focus is to ensure a lot of matches at various levels.

“By 2036, India will be among the top seven countries in Asia, a strong contender to qualify for the World Cup on merit,” said Prabhakaran.

Key takeaways
* Every state will have its own centre of excellence. At least 50 professional clubs will have their own training ground.
* Right now we have 4,500 clubs in our competitive structure. By 2047, we would like to see that figure go up to 20,000.
* We will see 100 clubs in our professional structure and a minimum of 20 stand-alone women’s clubs.
* At least one of the clubs should be a champion in an Asian competition by 2037.
* Two FIFA standard stadiums and one smart stadium will be built in coordination with the government and we want to finish the project by 2026.
* By 2026, we would like to see 35 lakh children in our grassroots project and 20 million children through school development programs. We would like to have 1 million registered children footballers by 2026.
* We would like to start courses for refereeing in India.
* AIFF will sign 50 professional referees and we will announce their names on 10th January at the Football House. This will be the first step (in improving refereeing) since we took over the office.

The AIFF aims to reach 35 million children through grassroots programmes, especially in villages, providing football education to 25 million children.

There will be a three-tier national league pyramid for men, with 40 teams. The Hero Indian Super League and the Hero I-League will have 14 teams each while, the I-league second division will have 12 teams. There will also be an elaborate youth league.

Also Read | Santosh Trophy revamp, Indian-only 2nd Div League will broaden elite talent pool: AIFF

To have better players in the football ecosystem, the focus will be on coaches’ education. The road map targets having 50,000 coaches across the country, with at least 4,500 having a minimum AIFF C-license.

The talent hunt will be data-driven from the grassroots, to the youth league, on to the national team. Qualifying for the FIFA under-17 World Cup for both men and women is a key part of the agenda.

All efforts would be made to attract investment in football infrastructure, and a mega football park is expected to be ready by 2026, along with the National Centre of Excellence.

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