AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) commitment to promote football across all categories as per the new redefined AFC Grassroots Philosophy saw a record participation amongst the State Associations. Participants of all ages, and abilities commemorated the landmark occasion of the AFC Grassroots Day 2019 with a massive turnout.
Over twenty-one thousand participants across all categories participated in various types of activities. From children’s football to beach soccer, women’s football, and people with disabilities, AIFF continues to work with key stakeholders to bring joy, and enhance social development in various provinces.
AIFF General Secretary Mr Kushal Das believes that initiatives like the AFC Grassroots Day will only help to popularise the message of football among the masses.
“Grassroots are the building blocks of football development. A celebration like this helps in bringing about a proper awareness,” Mr. Das said. “The AFC Grassroots Day brought football lovers from all spheres of life together, giving a chance to children, veterans, people with disabilities, and all others an opportunity to be a part of the beautiful game.”
The most popular format by far – children’s football witnessed maximum involvement from all stake holders. It saw a turnout of over 12,500 kids all across to celebrate the occasion.
Festivals, clinics, tournaments, exhibition matches, Q&A sessions with coaches, and professional players, social and educational campaigns were all part of the different activities held under the category.
Thousands of grassroots leaders actively involved across the vast expanse ensured that every region under the jurisdiction of AIFF contributes on the AFC Grassroots Day with various activities.
India has a thriving veteran’s football culture. With the redefinition of the grassroots philosophy, several Clubs and State Associations took the opportunity to invite over 850 former players to participate in Veterans’ Exhibition Matches, and Veterans’ Football tournaments conducted on the AFC Grassroots Day. Given the popularity of the format, thousands of fans turned up to witness the matches.
FOOTBALL FOR THE DISABLED
Multiple Clubs, NGOs and Football Academies took up the cause of football for the disabled by conducting football festivals for children with special needs and disabilities.
The Indian Blind Football Federation also conducted their National Level Championships for the visually impaired.
With its miles of pristine beaches along the Arabian Sea, the picturesque state of Goa led the way for Beach Football in India. Thanks to the contribution from the professional clubs and the state-sponsored football program, the Goa Football Development Council, along with Goa Football Association conducted multiple beach football tournaments on the day. There were huge turnouts as the events were conducted across some famous beaches in the state.
YOUTH & AMATEUR FOOTBALL
With participants reaching up to almost 7000 youth players, the AFC Grassroots Day proved to be an ideal platform to launch various grassroots leagues, tournaments, and clinics for both boys and girls across the country. Stakeholders showed utmost interest in promoting the beautiful game through various competitions, and initiatives among the upcoming generation. At the amateur level, more than 1600 players participated in various activities.
From the RESPECT Campaign for players, coaches and match officials to the various educational presentations on topics like injury prevention, hydration, nutrition, life>
Certain organisations focused on women-centric activities emphasising on the importance of Women’s Rights, and involvement of women in sports in India.
INVOLVEMENT OF AMBASSADORS
The direct involvement of many professional clubs saw many National Team icons participating in the festivals to engage with their fans. It was an effort to increase fan-engagement, promote the sport, and generate interest across media, and social media platforms.