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AIFF lays down roadmap for Indian football

AIFF unveils roadmap for Indian football

January 7, 2023

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has unveiled its vision for Indian football moving ahead. Dubbed as “Vision 2047”, the roadmap states the different goals the AIFF hopes to achieve in that time period.

The roadmap was announced at a press conference held by the AIFF at its headquarters in New Delhi, where AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey and Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran were present. 

The year 2047 will mark the centenary of India’s independence, and the AIFF hopes to make the nation a “Global [Footballing] Superpower in Asia” by that timeline. The AIFF has also stated that it “aims to make football incredible in India, football to become the game for the masses”. 

Prabhakaran said:

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. Vision 2047 will be divided into six cycles of development. The new management committee from 2022-26 will check Indian football’s progress then and move ahead accordingly. 

We want to be top four in Asia, one of the top six leagues in Asia, and one iconic footballer each from men’s and women’s football. We have to have a national football philosophy and have a coach that fits into our philosophy and that will be data-driven.

From governance and administration, football development to business and marketing division, we will have changes in every aspect.

The AIFF has listed down 11 main topics which are both short- and long-term targets and will be the core areas around which the roadmap will be built. 

These 11 core focus areas are:

  • Governance
  • Refereeing 
  • Clubs
  • National teams
  • Competitions
  • Infrastructure
  • Digital Transformation
  • Talent Identification
  • Marketing
  • Coach Education
  • Introduction of a business unit and it will be an integral part of the governance of AIFF
  • More focus on state associations as they have been neglected before

The AIFF has also listed down infrastructural goals and stated that it will be working towards developing two FIFA-standard stadiums in the country by 2026 and one “smart” stadium.

The AIFF Centre of Excellence in Kolkata is also on the agenda and its completion is a main target as well, as well as slowly building a Centre of Excellence in all states, while at least 50 professional clubs should have their own training ground as well. The AIFF also hopes to build “Mega Football Parks” in the country, which will be on the same level as those of its counterparts in Europe. 

Speaking about the development of the women’s game, Prabhakaran said:

Women will be treated at par with men’s football, given equal opportunity and status. We will bring a safeguarding department within the federation so that they feel safe.

The AIFF intends to create a separate department in the governing body itself for women along with the goals of having a fixed minimum wage for the female players. More incentives for the women’s football officials and developing the women’s club structure is also on the agenda. 

The roadmap also states that, by the year 2026, all top-division clubs in the country shall have a youth team and a residential programme. The AIFF hopes to have a total of 20,000 clubs by 2047, with 100 professional clubs in the top leagues. The aim is also to have standalone women’s clubs by 2047. 

For developing the grassroots in the country, the AIFF hopes to launch a flagship grassroots project by 2026 along with having a tribal grassroots initiative in 10 districts around the country. The goal is to have a total of one million registered players by 2026 while also focusing on training teachers at school level. The goal stated is to have a total of 35 lakh children in the grassroots projects by 2026 and 20 million in the school development programmes. The final aim is to have a million children registered by 2026.

The AIFF aims to delve deeper into the system and build a robust structure from “village to national level” by 2047. It will focus on data-driven solutions for scouting youth players, hoping to have around 5,000 licensed scouts in the country. The aim is also to have 100 elite youth league teams across different age groups. 

The AIFF will also be focusing on improving the different competitions and tournaments in the country. Among its targets are rebranding and reviving the Santosh Trophy, launching the National Football Games, reviving the Hero Gold Cup and the Intercontinental Cup and focusing on the Hero Super Cup and working on its expansion. Focus will also be provided to e-football, futsal, beach football and their respective leagues to grow those categories.

For the men’s game at club level, the AIFF plans to build a five-level pyramid structure which would start from the city level and go up to the national level. Working on 700 development clubs and 40 professional clubs is also on the agenda.

For the women’s game at club level, a four-level league pyramid is the target, with focus on 20 professional teams. Plans will also be made so two states could jointly host State Leagues. The AIFF also aims to start refereeing courses in the country and will be signing a total of 50 professional referees. 

For the Indian national teams, the senior men’s team have been given a goal of being inside the top ten in Asia by 2026 and top seven by 2036, while the women’s team are to aim to be among the top eight teams by 2026. The women’s junior team will also be looking to qualify for the U17 World Cup by 2026 on merit. Prabhakaran also stated that, by 2047, the goal for the men’s team will to be among the top four teams in Asia.  

Coming down to the business end, the AIFF hopes to increase its revenue by 500% by 2026, while launching three television properties to increase its revenue in that time. 

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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