The FIFA, in partnership with the AIFF, and the support of the Union Government, on Monday launched the Football for Schools project in the country, which is aimed at broad-basing the beautiful game across India.
FIFA Secretary General Fatima Samoura, Union Minister for Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Nisith Pramanik and AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey launched the initiative here.
The FIFA project, which also aims to reach out to over 700 million children worldwide, would lay special emphasis on reaching out to all the tribal communities of the world.
Samoura highlighted the importance of reaching out to youngsters across the country and the world with the language of football, and teaching them life lessons to make them better citizens in the future.
“Football is the language that brings everybody together. Whether you are an Indian, Senegalese, or Italian, when you kick a ball to a child, he will kick it back. One does not have to be in the same geographic zone or in the same community to be able to play together,” said Samoura.
“With the help of the AIFF President Mr Chaubey, and with the two Ministers, we have also looked into the possibility of furthering the Football for Schools programme in India, a programme that is very dear to the FIFA President (Gianni Infantino) himself.
“The project was born four years ago, in discussion between FIFA and UNESCO, and the idea was to have USD 100 mobilised by FIFA to reach out to over 700 million children across the world. Our aim is to educate children on various topics, not just about football, and to make them better citizens of their country. We also have a target of having 50 per cent girls,” she said.
Pradhan hailed the partnership between FIFA and AIFF, saying, “This partnership on Football for Schools project is very much in line with our vision of including every child in an overall education of the country.
“Not only will they be learning football, but also morals, and the inclusion of girls as well is very much inline with what we envision. I can assure that we will provide any kind of aid that the FIFA or AIFF may need in order to spread this project across the country.”