August 24 – While the world’s most populous nation, China, is taking the football world by storm with a series of high profile club acquisitions and internal development initiatives, the world’s second most populous nation is without doubt waking up to football, but a little more slowly.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) approach is different to that of the Chinese and its leaders were in Kuala Lumpur yesterday to share their plans for the future structure of Indian football.
The fundamental difference between India and China is that Chinese business has massively backed Super League clubs as well as looked aggressively for marquee football investments outside China – all backed and encouraged by the state. India has not yet had that level of commercial engagement or state support.
The AIFF and the AFC have agreed to set up a joint taskforce to help with Indian football development. They will hold their first meeting at the AFC Extraordinary Congress in Goa on September 27, 2016. India needs help kick-starting its football economy, while the AFC has identified India as a key market for football development.
At the meeting in Kuala Lumpur general secretary Kushal Das, outlined the proposed plans for development of football in India to AFC management.
AFC general secretary Dato’ Windsor John said: “The AFC has been following the developments in India extremely closely. The AFC’s Vision and Mission sets the goal of ensuring that football is the number one sport in Asia and India is a very important country if we are to achieve that objective.
“Football in India has great potential for growth and development as was outlined by AIFF and it is important that we get the right structures and programmes in place so that the sport in India can grow – and this is something AFC can assist with.”
Kushal Das, welcoming the establishment of a joint taskforce with the AFC, said: “AIFF is grateful for the welcome and the advice that has been offered by Dato’ Windsor John and the AFC team. We look forward to working with them to achieve the best for football in India.”
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