Grassroots Football lays the foundation of the sport, and its primary aim is to increase participation for children, youth, amateurs, veterans, those with physical disabilities, cerebral palsy, visually impaired and even the socially disadvantaged.
The AIFF Grassroots programme pays special attention to quality and quantity of licensed E-certificate coaches, accredited academies, grassroots festivals, Golden Baby Leagues, amateur football tournaments, futsal and anything which doesn't come under the umbrella of professional Football. AIFF is also determined to conduct numerous community outreach programs to popularise Football through grassroots.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) defines grassroots football as 'All football which is non-professional and non-elite.' It intends to bring all together by providing access to Football regardless of age, gender, physical condition, skin colour, religion or ethnic origin.
AIFF's Grassroots Development programme kicked-off in December 2012 and the expansion was rapid and fast. In 2013, AIFF finished second at the AFC Annual Awards in the 'Grassroots Member Association of the Year' category.
AIFF also bagged an AFC President Recognition Award for Grassroots Football in 2014. More recently, in February 2020, AIFF received the AFC Grassroots charter -- Bronze Level membership for its stupendous work towards promoting grassroots football.
It's very important for all to understand the importance AIFF puts on Grassroots and Youth Development. The idea is to encourage participation rather than competition. Even amateur footballers are free to take part.
We need more competitions. We need more games to build a better future. The idea is to ensure that the kids get to play more matches. A larger reach will help us attain that.
Grassroots are the building blocks of a footballing system and the AIFF has increased its efforts ten-folds in the recent years to promote grassroots football
The Grassroots Programme acts as a starting point in the player development pathway by providing playing opportunities to as many children (boys and girls) as possible in the age group of 6-12 years, even at an earlier age if it is safe to do so.
This age-group constitutes the 'golden age of learning,' and children should be introduced to Football with the philosophy of promoting the principles of fair play. In addition to learning Football, children are also to be provided with an opportunity to “learn through football,” thus building their personality and confidence, while also inspiring teamwork.
By design, the Grassroots programme creates numerous opportunities, employing passionate football educators across India, engaging children from various backgrounds, involving multiple stakeholders and officials in the ‘Beautiful Game,’ all of which contribute to the overall Grassroots ecosystem in India.
The vision and mission of Grassroots is for Football to be the sport of choice -- reaching all communities and helping India be an inspiring, proud and successful football nation at the highest level. We seek to achieve this through a three-fold approach focussing on coach education, organising regular events, and implementing comprehensive development programmes by working with all stakeholders.
It is an introductory grassroots football course conducted in 5 days in a combination of online classes and practical's on the field. Primary emphasis is to educate coaches on the different challenges while seeking to engage and promote football culture in the society. Furthermore, it aims to attract the young generation to the beautiful game and form a Football Nation.
Grassroots Day aims to develop the popularity of football at the grassroots level among the kids under 12 years, which is a golden age for development. This is the platform to spread awareness about grassroots football and its benefits -- one being the increase of the base of the player pyramid structure. View more images here.
National Girl Child Day is celebrated every year on January 24th throughout the country to generate awareness about girls' rights, issues that they face and how they can be empowered to meet the challenges in society. Football has always been a great tool of empowerment for girls and women across India, and the world. View more images here.
The AFC Women's Football Day was first held in 2014. It is celebrated by all of the Member Associations to honor the involvement and contribution of women in football. View more images here.
Children's Day is celebrated in India on 14th November to commemorate the birth anniversary of the nation's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who showed immense love, care and affection for children. The AIFF marks this day as an opportunity to enjoy football as a fun activity while also raising awareness about the rights of children. View more images here.
National Sports Day is celebrated on 29th August, on the birth anniversary of hockey player Major Dhyan Chand, who helped bring home Gold medals in Olympics for India in the years 1928, 1932 and 1936. On this day, State Football Associations in India organise various sporting activities aimed at spreading awareness about the importance of physical activities. View more images here.
To honour the contribution of States in promoting and developing football in India, the All India Football Federation celebrates the AIFF States Grassroots Day on the 2nd of October. The primary focus is to popularize the game of football throughout India, spreading it's unifying, educational culture and humanitarian values, in urban, rural and remote areas, including schools, colleges and universities. View more images here.
The Golden Baby Leagues project was launched in the year 2018 in association with FIFA’s development programme – FIFA forward. We believe that the ages of 6-12 years form the golden age of learning for young boys and girls. learning through games while having fun, making friendships and developing team spirit are key ingredients in developing a football player for life. To know more - GBL. View more images here.
The global outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the football industry with major sporting events coming to a stand-still and posing new challenges to the professional sports ecosystem.
In such a situation the webinars played a pivotal role to remotely connect people with one another. AIFF have organised numerous workshops on grassroots football among various states, academies, clubs and local organizations to increase the participation and awareness of social football culture. View more images here.
Organizing camp/workshop coaching courses will also help educate people. This in turn will lead to more awareness and will contribute to the growth of football across the nation. AIFF collaborates with State Associations and various NGOs to deliver courses and arrange special events. View more images here.
Khelo India ePathshala in Football (Grassroots and Intermediate), was an athlete coaching and education programme organized by the Sports Authority of India in association with the All India Football Federation. The event sought to promote a culture of football in the country and provide training to players in various football skills during the ongoing pandemic. Around 15,000-odd children including more than 1,000 girls participated in this mega project, where children were encouraged to upload football drill videos, sketches, paintings etc. Here’s the list of winners for each category of the event.
AIFF's official communications pertaining to Grassroots football.