AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey announces plan to expand women’s football

AIFF press team

NEW DELHI: The president of the Indian Football Federation, Mr. Kalyan Chaubey, announced his plans to expand women’s football and introduce a new age-group league to source top talent at a young age.

“We will shortly introduce a U-17 women’s league in India in association with the Sports Authority of India,” said Mr. Chaubey during a media interaction in Kolkata on Thursday (September 8, 2022).

Hinting that he would like to maintain full gender equality in Indian football, the AIFF president said the federation has a plan to introduce a minimum salary cap for female Indian Women’s League (IWL) players. “It is not right that the fees of soccer players have great differences at the level of men and women. Every effort must be made to restore the balance,” said Mr. Chaubey.

Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, Secretary General, AIFF, Mr. Avijit Paul, Member, Executive Committee, AIFF; and Mr. Sunando Dhar, Deputy Secretary General, AIFF were also present on the occasion.

The AIFF president revealed that the newly elected committee has a plan to bring India’s licensed professional footballers and coaches to a level where they will soon be the most sought after individuals in their own profession on the world stage. “Today, Indian businessmen, corporate executives, scientists, etc., occupy the top positions in the world. So why can’t our coaches and players do the same? We believe that, with the right education and instruction, they too can prove to be the best in the world. We should try it,” he maintained.

Mr. Chaubey, while noting that improving the game at the state level is the best way forward for Indian football, said that much importance would be attached to the Santosh Trophy and other inter-state championships in the future. “Over the years, some of the best names in Indian football have emerged from these fixtures. We will continue to nurture these tournaments,” he promised.

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Making it clear that the misuse of funds in football must be stopped and dealt with as strictly as possible, Mr Chaubey stated: “Our goal is to bring the game through the schools. In India, there are 16 lakhs of government schools with 25 crores of students. Most of these schools have a soccer field each. If we can tap into that area and link our licensed coaches with the athletic trainers at the school, then a lot can be done without wasting energy and resources.”

Announcing that the AIFF Technical Committee meeting will be convened shortly to finalize various issues such as training, scouting and player selection, the AIFF president said a balancing act must be maintained between the interest of the national team and that of the clubs, as both are important in advancing Indian football together.

In response to a question, the AIFF president said that the Federation would submit the names of its nominees for the Padma Shri and Arjuna awards by September 15.

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