Praful Patel

Nationality : Indian

Date of Birth : 17th Feb 1957

Education Qualification : B.Com

Indian Football has made giant strides under the leadership of Mr. Praful Patel who took over as President in-charge in December 2008 and was elected as the AIFF President in December 2009 and has been at the helm since.

Under his guidance, AIFF has seen Grassroots and Coach Development usher in, football academies blossom and Youth Development take big steps including the launch of the youth leagues.

India also hosted its first football mega event - the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup – an unprecedented achievement in the country, backed by Mr. Patel. With AIFF now set to host the U-17 FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2020 it shows the forward-thinking mindset of the AIFF President.

An adept political leader and a former member of the Cabinet, Mr. Patel has steered Indian Football forward ably, proving himself to also be a capable sports administrator.

The AIFF President is now focused on implementing the second strategic plan, which runs from 2019-2022, to further develop Indian Football.

President’s Note

The strategic planning process was introduced in the AIFF in 2013 with the launch of the 1st AIFF Strategic Plan for a period of 4 years from 2014 to 2017.

The 1st Plan focused on creating the robust structure of underlying development programs in order to facilitate high performance at the professional level. This structure will act as a base for broad basing the game further as well push for excellence.

A few milestones that Indian Football achieved during the 1st Strategic Plan period.

  1. FIFA Ranking of the Indian National Team improved from 154 to 97
  2. India qualified for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 in the most emphatic manner by topping our group
  3. India flawlessly delivered the most successful FIFA youth competition ever with an attendance of over 1.34 million
  4. First ever professional league for women (IWL) was started in 2016
  5. No. of teams in IWL increased from 25 to 44 in just one year
  6. No. of teams in top professional leagues (I-League & ISL) for men increased from 13 to 20
  7. No. of states covered by top professional leagues for men increased from 5 to 14
  8. No. of youth teams playing in national leagues increased from 20 to 198
  9. No. of matches organized by AIFF increased from 511 to 1200+
  10. No. of certified coaches and referees increased from 1215 to 6501 and 3712 to 5940, respectively

The above was possible only due to the combined effort of all stakeholders associated with Indian Football. Yet, we realize, that there is still a long way to go. There is a need to perform consistently well at the international level so that we can bring more laurels to the country. This is possible if we are able to strengthen and channelize the culture in existing football hotbeds while helping other regions to work towards building a similar culture.

The AIFF’s role is to facilitate the growth of football in India by creating a robust platform for all stakeholders. And we will continue to strive towards developing an eco-system so that every football enthusiast in India can engage and participate in a manner that is convenient, constructive and fulfilling. Guided by the 2nd Strategic Plan and the support of all stakeholders, we dream of becoming one of the top footballing countries in Asia in terms of both scale and quality within the next 10 years.