AIFF to launch National Under—13 League next year

AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said the league would be open to Under—13 teams of the Indian Super League, I—League and academies certified by the federation.

The U-13 league will start in 2017, the year when India hosts the FIFA U-17 World Cup.   -  AIFF Media

In a significant move towards the development of the game at the grassroots, All India Football Federation will launch an Under-13 National League next year. AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said the league would be open to Under-13 teams of the Indian Super League, I-League and academies certified by the federation.

“AIFF stays committed to taking the sport to the kids and we feel 2017 is the best calendar year to launch the Under-13 league as it’s also the year of the FIFA U-17 World Cup which will be hosted in India,” Das told PTI.

“After the success of Under-19 I-League and Under-15 League, the Under-13 League is the next step in the structure which takes us closer to the grassroots,” he added.

Asked which teams would be competing in the Under-13 League, Das said, “We expect all the clubs both from I-League and Indian Super League along with certain AIFF certified Academies.”

AIFF Technical Director Scott O’Donnell said the Under-13 League would be one in the “right direction“.

“Playing competitive football plays a big role in a player’s development. There are some school tournaments for that age-group but with most of them being knock-out ones, the kids lose out when their team loses,” he said.

“The Under-13 League will ensure that the players get to play a minimum number of games.”

AIFF is currently following an academy certification system which would ensure that academies with right philosophy would be given preference.

Meanwhile, the AIFF organised a three-day Advanced Grassroots Course aimed at “talent identification“.

“The advanced GR Programme is a step in the right direction and is of great relevance to the Under-13 National League,” Das said

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