Football for Schools launched in India

27 Oct 2021
  • FIFA Foundation announces Football for Schools programme in Odisha, welcoming 100 children and 60 coaches to the launch event

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino commends Odisha for contribution to sport development

  • Foundation CEO Youri Djorkaeff said launch “represents a huge step toward achieving the dreams of children throughout the country”

India’s ‘capital of sport’ has played host to the launch of Football for Schools in the world’s second-most populous country. The FIFA Foundation selected sport-loving Odisha as the perfect location to launch the new programme, which aims to make football more accessible to both girls and boys throughout the world. Empowering boys and girls with valuable life skills and competencies, the programme provides coach-educators with the training they need to deliver education through sport. Unveiling the new project at the Kalinga Institute for Industrial Technology (KIIT) and the Kalinga Institute for Social Sciences (KISS), Foundation CEO and France legend Youri Djorkaeff, KIIT and KISS founder, Professor Achyuta Samanta, KIIT’s Dr Varun Suthra and the Indian Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das, welcomed 100 children and 60 coaches to the event.

Launch of the FIFA Football for Schools programme at Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) in Bhubaneswar. Photo: Manas Ranjan Rath (KIIT)

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, sent his best wishes for a successful launch. “This is a landmark occasion. I congratulate you all for having taken on the first pilot project in India, opening doors for the launch of the project throughout the country. The State of Odisha is perfectly positioned to lead us forward, thanks to the valuable support of the Government of Odisha. “Thank you to Professor Achyuta Samanta, founder of KIIT and KISS for hosting this event and for contributing to empowering tribal children through sports and education. It is Professor Samanta’s visionary guidance that KIIT and KISS have been nurturing athlete talent since 2005, and I was delighted to hear two KIIT students participated in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.” Youri Djorkaeff, meanwhile, reflected fondly on his time in India. “Being here to launch Football for Schools in India, one of the first countries in which we are launching the programme, represents a huge step toward achieving the dreams of children throughout the country. I have seen the dedication shown by the coaches who will deliver Football for Schools, and the genuine excitement from the children. It is clear, there is a very bright future ahead for India, a very important country for the FIFA Foundation. “Thank you to Dr Samanta, and Chief Minister, Mr Naveen Pattnaik, who have done so much toward establishing this region as the Indian sporting capital. It was also fantastic to visit the Indian Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports, Shri Anurag Thakur, in New Delhi. I was able to share at length some of the work the FIFA Foundation and FIFA are doing in India to change the lives of millions of children and young people, and offer greater opportunities to get involved in football.” Football for Schools beyond boosting participation. The global project also builds the capacity of stakeholders, such as schools, member associations and public authorities, to deliver Football for Schools, while strengthening the cooperation between governments, MAs and participating schools, to promote effective, collaborative alliances. AIFF general secretary, Kushal Das, said: “It is a great initiative to launch Football for schools by FIFA in Odisha which is the sporting capital of India. I am extremely happy and grateful to FIFA that India has been chosen as one of the first countries to launch this pioneering program.”

Launch of the FIFA Football for Schools programme at Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) in Bhubaneswar. Photo: Manas Ranjan Rath (KIIT)

Dr Samanta said: “History is being created in the state of Odisha, generally, and especially KIIT and KISS today. We are privileged to be spearheading the FIFA Football for Schools programme in India. We are very grateful to the FIFA President, Youri Djorkaeff and everyone involved in making this possible.” The event was also attended by Minister for Youth Affairs Tusharkanti Behera, additional charge of commissioner to Government, Sports and Youth Services Department, R. Vineel Krishna, President of Football Association of Odisha Debashish Samantaray, and Football Association of Odisha secretary Ashirbad Behera.

Dr Nik Gugger, Swiss MP and Global Ambassador for KIIT-KISS, also conveyed his best wishes to President Infantino and Dr Samanta through a video message for successfully executing the mega launch. He said that this partnership would help millions of students in India.