Grassroots Football in India

August 2013
Endorsed by Supported by

TITLE Grassroots Football in India AUTHORS Libero Sports India Pvt. Ltd. & Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) MONTH/YEAR OF PUBLICATION August 2013 COPYRIGHT No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form by photo, print, micro lm or any other means without the written permission of Libero Sports India Pvt. Ltd. and FICCI. DISCLAIMER The information and opinions contained in this document have been compiled and arrived at from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation or warranty expressed is made to their accuracy, completeness or correctness. This document if for information purposes only. The information contained in this document is published for the assistance of the recipient but is not to be relied upon as authoritative or taken in substitution for the exercise of judgment by any recipient. This document is not intended to be a substitute for professional, technical or legal advice. All opinions expressed in this document are subject to change without notice. Neither Libero Sports India Pvt. Ltd. nor FICCI or any other legal entities in the group to which it belongs, accept any liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss howsoever arising from any use of this document or its contents or otherwise arising in connection herewith. Cover image courtesy: AIFF Media


Foreword Preface Introduction International Grassroots Japan Australia United States Africa Grassroots football in India National Federation State Association Schools Corporate NGO Private Entities Conscient Football Conclusion

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As the representative of Indian Sports Sector, we at FICCI connect with stakeholders nationally and internationally. It is overwhelming and encouraging for us to see Indian sports generate so much interest especially in football. After listening to the experiences, ideas and concerns of sports fraternity across the globe and working with them, we firmly believe only grassroots sports promotion can help us raise the standard of sports in the country. This document with a focus on football brings to the fore innumerable grassroots sports development initiatives that are not just elevating level of sports in the country but are also shaping up the lives of youth because the essence of sports is not just in competitive play but also in imparting important life skills, holistic human development and over all well being. Therefore it is absolutely logical to release this publication on the occasion of National Sports Day of India. As it captures the real essence of sporting excellence which lies in grassroots and to reinforce the role played by sports in meeting of national goals because participation in games and sports invariably ensures good health, fitness and efficient work force which means reduced expenditure on health for the individuals and families and growth and development of the nation. At the end we would also like to express our gratitude to Asian Football Development Project which has successfully used football for social development and has inspired us to put up this publication. Also, all other stakeholders who have been documented in this publication especially All India Football Federation (AIFF) team who under the leadership of Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF shared important information with us. We are hopeful that this report will inspire other sports also to adapt these models and promote sports at the grassroots. Let us communicate, connect and collaborate to join this journey to catalyze change in India’s sport landscape and realize our true potential in sports. We are after all The Rising Billion!

Rajpal Singh Director and Head, Sports & Youth A airs FICCI

I firmly believe that there are multiple aspects that we need to work on to significantly improve the state of football in India. Furthermore, this can only be achieved through a collective and streamlined effort from all the stakeholders involved in football, who are working towards a common vision. The one thing that is common in all football powerhouses around the world is their strong grassroots football. To improve football in India, we must start at the bottom of the football pyramid, at the grassroots level. This report highlights what grassroots football is, what impact it can have on the overall development of the game and what stakeholders are present in the Indian market. We can see the countries which have done well in the recent past, and trace their successes to their development initiatives at the grassroots level. We can also see the social benefits a game like football can have on society. We must understand the role and importance of stakeholders present, from private companies to the national federation, and how they must work towards a common goal. With a determination stronger than ever to host the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, and a bonafide project in place to give India the best chance of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2022, I have never before seen nor felt such excitement across the Indian footballing landscape. I hope that by the time you finish reading this knowledge paper, you will not only have learned about a number of initiatives undertaken by various stakeholders in the field of grassroots football in India, but have also gained an appreciation and understanding of what grassroots football actually is, and the crucial role it plays in taking Indian football forward.

Sukhvinder Singh Managing Director Libero Sports India Pvt. Ltd.


De nition of Grassroots Football According to the Oxford dictionary the term “grassroots” is de ned as, “The most basic level of an activity or organization.” It is also de ned as “Fundamental.” “Grassroots football” is an often used and globally recognized term which has di erent de nitions according to key industry stakeholders. FIFA, the international governing body of association football de nes grassroots football as, “To allow football to be discovered by as many people as possible.” According to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), “All football which is non-professional and non-elite is de ned as grassroots. All children’s football is grassroots.” FIFA President Sepp Blatter says, “Grassroots is all about the children, they are football’s future.”

“Grassroots football is football for everyone, by everyone, everywhere”
Joseph S. Blatter | President, FIFA

Concept The key concept of grassroots football is to bring together as many people as possible through the sport and grassroots programmes tend to advocate exchanges and sharing human values which promote the pleasure of playing the beautiful game. For some people, grassroots football is a focus for recreational activities, while for others it is the organised practice of the sport, with training and matches, within a de ned framework. The essential elements of grassroots football are relationships, team spirit and fun. One of the approaches adopted by FIFA with regards to grassroots football is to “Develop the Game” which is manifested in the main objective of FIFA’s grassroots football programme: to allow football to be discovered by as many people as possible. This is based on the assumption that the best way of attracting new players to the sport is to give them access to football in their own environment irrespective of age, sex, physical condition, religion or ethnic origin.

“Grassroots football has great value as a vehicle for education, sporting and social development.”
Salman Al Khalifa | President, AFC


Importance of Grassroots Football Programmes Grassroots Football Development Programmes are de ned as programmes run with the aim of encouraging people to play the game of football. They are undertaken at the grassroots level, meaning that people of all abilities are included. Their primary objective is developing the sport itself through encouraging participation and enjoyment of the beautiful game. • Grassroots programmes; football programmes in schools, clubs and communities form the foundation from which players of the future emerge. • Grassroots programmes are vital to engaging and retaining people in the sport as players, coaches, referees, administrators and volunteers. • Grassroots programmes are where the core values which football elicits are formed, particularly among youth

“Football is based on the grassroots, the top professional level is just the tip of the iceberg The strength of football lies in its grassroots.”
Michel Platini | President, UEFA

Figure 1: The grassroots football structure

“At the base of the football pyramid, grassroots football bene ts all levels of the game.”
Andy Roxburg | Technical Director, UEFA


Structure Represented in the gure below is the football pyramid de ned by UEFA. To stress on the importance of grassroots football development, UEFA Technical Director Andy Roxburgh said, "Football is not a sport for the elite. It is available for everyone, irrespective of size, shape, colour or faith. It is a real sporting democracy which o ers educational values, health bene ts, social opportunities and sporting worth. The game is a wonderful vehicle for personal and sporting development.”

Figure 2: The UEFA Grassroots Football Pyramid

UEFA’s football consultant Robin Russell speaking at AFC grassroots workshop highlighted the importance of grassroots football. “It provides a basis of support or increases the pool from which to select international players for inter national team success. The more players, the more potential income and the more attraction of sponsors. As for the clubs, research shows that kids’ participation is highest in countries with a high number of teams per club. So, the more players they have, the more potential income they can make, and the more teams there are, the better the identity and stability. More life-long players mean more potential volunteers to help in the grassroots cause. As for the players, they get to have fun and build self-esteem, make friends and learn new skills, just to name a few of the advantages of grassroots football. Grassroots also helps schools by helping build children’s literacy, numeracy and IT skills. It helps bolster school identity and is a simple way to meet physical education requirements for boys and girls. How about the advantages for the state government? We rarely ask this question, but grassroots de nitely helps reduce crime at key times in children’s life and also works in bringing down crime in key locations. It helps reduces child obesity as well as smoking and alcohol problems.

“Grassroots helps promote the importance of health and therefore helps reduce the government’s health costs. It also promotes social cohesion and integrates ethnic groups.”
Robin Russell | UEFA Grassroots Consultant


AFC Grassroots Year The Asian Football Confederation has designated 2013 as the AFC Grassroots Year, aptly themed ‘Let’s Play! The confederation is encouraging Member Associations to organise activities to promote and emphasise that football is accessible and socially bene cial to everyone and that a strong foundation will allow players to progress to the elite level. AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said, “The recognition and celebration of grassroots football is a special initiative of AFC because it is our responsibility to support and encourage this crucial element of the game in each of our Member Associations. Grassroots football has great value as a vehicle for education, sporting and social development. Without grassroots football, professional football in Asia would be in jeopardy. Grassroots football provides our professional game with its players, coaches, referees and administrators and, in recent years, there has been a paradigm shift in which this aspect is being approached. The bene ts accruing from investment in grassroots football are immense – education, health, social and sporting. As the governing body of Asian football, AFC fully recognises the big impact grassroots football has on the society at large and the social values the game can help in inculcating among youth impressionable minds.”

Figure 3: The Grassroots Football Universe


The success of the National Team in a country is often cited as the key driving force to grow football yet this is rarely the case if the international success occurs without bedrock of grassroots participation. For example, Greece won the 2004 European Championships but this had little subsequent e ect on the dwindling participation and interest in domestic football in the Mediterranean country. Similarly, post Italy’s 2006 FIFA World Cup victory, the country continues to experience a decrease in football participation, attendance and development of Italian born players playing top level Italian football. Conversely, Holland has won only one Senior International Tournament (in 1988) but has one of the highest levels of per capita football participation and interest in Europe. There is su cient evidence to believe that the population that plays football is also the population that consumes football in other ways – through TV, internet, attendance at live matches, etc. In recent times, signi cant advances in participation and the size of the football market have been seen in the USA, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Ukraine and Japan. In these countries one can see the increase in participation in football, has driven a rise in TV audiences and a subsequent rise in the value of TV rights and sponsorship. The evidence is that the development of Grassroots Football is greatly enhanced by the catalysts listed below. It should be noted that virtually every one of the 8 identi ed catalysts presents considerable opportunities to attract commercial sponsorship and Corporate Social Responsibility budgets. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. A Strategic National Football Development Plan Professional clubs active role in the community Encouraging female participation Football camps & franchises organised by clubs, FA’s and commercially School Football Developing the mini game for under 11’s Developing multi team amateur clubs Coach & volunteer education

• The development of Grassroots Football is the key driver to increasing the value of a country’s football market as measured by TV viewership, Sponsorship, Advertising spend, attendances at Professional games etc. • Grassroots Football requires proactive engagement – and the 8 most commonly successful proactive catalysts are shown above. Such catalysts are also prime properties for sponsorship. • Grassroots Football Development is assisted by buoyant economic conditions. A few examples of countries which have produced signi cant results to the growth of their respective football industries through strong grassroots programming are highlighted in the next section.


Origins In 1988, national interest in Japan for football was virtually non-existent. Japan had never quali ed for an Asian Cup or FIFA World Cup. However, it was in 1993 when the J League was formed which changed the face of Japanese football and it was in the same year when Japan bid for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Background The rst step the Japanese Football Association (JFA) took was to make grassroots football a top priority. The association ploughed resources into youth academies, coaching and scouting. A network was set up across Japan and local schools became involved in promoting the game and training youth. Industry also played a role in this revolution as many corporates such as, Nestle Japan, set up national football training programmes. The entire e ort, led by the JFA, was a concerted one with all stakeholders holding onto similar visions for the future of football in the country. To inculcate a culture of football within Japan other unique initiatives were implemented. There was a football based anime character by the name of Captain Tsubasa which helped fuel a love for the game among youth. The programme is noted for inspiring now household names such as Hidetoshi Nakata, Alessandro Del Piero, Fernando Torres, Zinedine Zidane and Lionel Messi, amongst many others. The in uence of this show on the uptake of the sport in young individuals in Japan cannot be overestimated. It both a ected and re ected the growing popularity of the sport in the country. The J League The J League, Japan’s domestic professional league, launched in 1993 relied on big names such as Zico and Gary Linekar to create a buzz. Over the years though, the highly popular league has been able to produce home grown talent through its Academies and even export many of these players to generate revenue. The impact the J League has had on placing the country on the global football map cannot be overlooked as Japanese teams have won the Asian Champions League three times since the league’s inception and the men’s national team continues to excel at international tournaments. Emphasis on Youth Development From the outset, the J League made it clear that youth development was a priority as all member clubs were made to eld a senior team, reserve team, an Under-18 team, an Under-15 team and school teams. In addition, JFA training centres, modelled on the French system, were set up throughout the country where the most promising players could be scouted at a young age and funnelled through a system with specialist youth coaches and state of the art training facilities.
Captain Tsubasa - Japan’s cultural gamechanger


Results The Under-16 national side has twice been crowned Asian Champions while the Under-19 side made the nal of the 1999 FIFA World Youth Cup. Japan also became the rst country to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Japanese club sides have also tasted success in international competition with Urawa Reds (in 2007) and Gamba Osaka (in 2008) both being crowned Asian champions whilst last year Kashiwa Reysol made the semi nals of the FIFA Club World Cup. The senior side defeated Australia in Qatar last year to become Asian Champions for a record fourth time.

The Japan Football Association Declaration, 2005


Origins In 2004 the governing body of football in Australia, the Australian Soccer Association changed its name to the Football Federation of Australia (FFA). The FFA created the A-League, a new eight-team competition to revitalise soccer in Australia, to replace the existing National Soccer League(NSL). In 2008 a national youth league was set up in conjunction with the A-League in order to continue to breed young Australian talent into the league as well as into the Australian national team and its a liates such as the under 17, under 20 and under 23 teams. Background Australia is considered a country which has a strong grassroots football culture and the numbers support this. Participation in football has experienced signi cant growth between 2001 and 2010, from 551,300 participants to 843,900. This makes football the physical activity with the third highest increase among the top 10 physical activities, after aerobics/ tness and running. Between the period of 2001 to 2009, there was a 52% increase in the number of people playing outdoor football, the number of 5–14 year olds playing the game grew by 58% and for over 15 years of age the number grew by 42%. In fact,the biggest challenge for football participation in Australia is not how to encourage it, but how to meet the demand. On the professional scene, there have also been two signi cant developments. First, in 2005 the Football Federation Australia launched a new domestic national soccer competition called the Hyundai A-League. Second, the Asian Champions League started to grow at a rapid rate. Industry analysis indicates that in the long-term (10 years minimum) the Asian Champions League may rival the European Champions League, the largest club tournament in the world, and revenue may be boosted signi cantly. The high-pro le sporting bodies in other sports such as AFL, could aim to follow this trend and establish the competition on an international stage.

Figure 4: Sports Participation in Australia by numbers

“Football is the most played sport at the youth level in this country.”
David Gallop | Chief Executive, FFA


The National Plan The Football Federation Australia (FFA) has been one of the primary drivers behind the increase in grassroots football participation in Australia. There have been many strategic initiatives implemented by the Federation which focus on grassroots football which are a part of its 10 year National Plan. The focus points of the National Plan are: • To produce a team that is consistently ranked in the top 20 in the men’s FIFA ranking system by 2015 (and strive for a position in the top 10 by 2020). • To create a Talent Development and Identification Program that achieves success for generations to come. • To create a coach development system in Australia that produces quality coaches that are able to bring the content of the curriculum to life to realize the targets. • To create a youth development system in Australia that is fully operational nationwide by 2015 and renowned as one of the world’s best Results

Figure 5: Sports Participation in Australia (2001 - 2009)

Signs suggest that the A-League is playing its role in providing a link between the game’s huge participant community and the new-found success of the Australian representative team. In doing so, the FFA has driven the repositioning of soccer into Australian sport’s mainstream. Match day, television and online audiences suggest the on and off-field quality of the A-League is resonating and engaging a significant section of the Australian sporting community outside of its marginalised ethnic origins. The strong grassroots culture has already begun to bear fruit for the overall development of football in Australia as it recently became the second country to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The Socceroos celebrate quali cation to the FIFA World Cup 2014


Origins Over the past 30 years, soccer has gone from an obscure international game to become one of the most popular recreational sports among youth in the United States. The popularity of soccer in the U.S. has been growing since the 1960s and 1970s, and received a signi cant boost when the United States hosted the 1994 World Cup. Background There are more than 75 million international soccer fans in the United States. At a growth rate of 52% and with an increase of devoted fans since 2005, it's the fastest-growing avid fan base in the country.

Figure 6: Fan following in numbers for sports in the United States

The Rise of Soccer According to the Soccer Industry Council of America, 18.2 million Americans played organized soccer in 1999, with 13.8 million under 18. Also, high school participation increased by 65% between 1987-99. Among youth 12-17, soccer participation rose 20% to 6 million (from 5 million). While other team sports like softball (-12%); baseball (-7%); volleyball (-3%) and basketball (-2%) experienced losses. In recent decades, more youth sports organizations have turned to soccer as a supplement to American football, and most American high schools o er both soccer and American Football in their fall sports seasons. Due to the rising number of youths playing, the term “soccer mom” is used in American social and political discourse to describe middle or upper-middle class suburban women with school-age children. Americans between the ages of 12 and 24 rank professional soccer as their second favourite sport behind only American football. And in 2011, the FIFA video game ranked as the 2nd most popular video game in the country, behind only Madden, an American Football game.


Though organized locally by organizations all over the United States, there are ve main youth soccer organizations working nationwide through a liated local associations. The United States Youth Soccer Association US Youth Soccer is the largest member of the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body for soccer in the United States. US Youth Soccer is a nationwide body of over 600,000 volunteers and administrators, and over 300,000 dedicated coaches, most of who also are volunteers. US Youth Soccer registers over 3,000,000 youth players between the ages of 5 and 19. US Youth Soccer is made up of 55 member State Associations. American Youth Soccer Organization The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) is a non-pro t soccer organization in the United States for children aged 4 through 19. Headquartered in California, AYSO has local programs known as "regions" in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago. The organization is run primarily by volunteers at its constituent local levels. AYSO was established in Los Angeles at Je erson Middle School in 1964 with nine teams. Today the organization claims membership of over 50,000 teams, with over 600,000 participants between the ages of 4 and 19. Over the years, AYSO has created many valuable programs and concepts. United Soccer League The USL o ers a number of youth leagues, including the Super-20 League and the Super Y-League, which have almost 1,000 teams and tens of thousands of players from the ages of 13 to 20. Say Soccer The Soccer Association for Youth, USA (SAY Soccer) was founded in 1967. SAY provides a wide array of services and support to members including insurance, coaching and referee support, legal and administrative support, US Soccer A liation, publications for all members, Online Store, and an opportunity for children to experience the game of soccer in fun safe environment. SAY Soccer is "The" Leader in Recreational Soccer Support. As of 2009 SAY Soccer assists over 600 Soccer leagues, 150,000 players, 36,000 coaches, across the United States. US Club Soccer US Club Soccer is a national organization and member of the United States Soccer Federation that aims to advance soccer in the United States through the development and support of soccer clubs. The organization sanctions clubs, leagues and tournaments for youth and adults, with a focus on high-level competitive play. US Club Soccer boasts a membership from all 50 states, and the organization sanctions well over 400 tournaments per year.

“The success of the national teams, the MLS and now with the new NWSL, you see the opportunities continuing to grow. The collegiate game has gotten so much bigger and better. It’s an exciting time for youth soccer players. The U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships, that’s where they get to showcase that.”
Mia Hamm | Two time FIFA World Player of the Year


Results There are over 24 million Americans playing soccer. There are 4.2 million players (2.5 million men and 1.7 million women) registered with U.S. Soccer. 30% of American households contain someone playing soccer, a gure second only to baseball. Increasing numbers of Americans, having played the game in their youth, are now avid spectators. A 2012 ESPN sports poll ranked soccer as the #2 most popular sport in the country for 12-24 year olds. Most cities with MLS teams have large fan bases, and cities with USL teams have support on par with minor league teams in other sports. Furthermore, the increase in popularity of soccer in the United States is also the result of other factors such as globalization (with the resulting greater TV exposure being given by sports channels to soccer competition), the continued presence of US teams in international competitions, and the continued building of soccer-speci c stadiums in the country.

Global superstars such as Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill now plying their trade in the MLS have provided a huge impetus to soccer following in the United States


Sport can be used as a cost e ective tool to improve the health of communities. The physical and mental bene ts gained from physical activity are documented and widely known. Evidence from developing countries in Africa suggests that organised team sport is a powerful medium to increase healthy behaviours among youth. Coaches and older peers often tend to be role models and con dants for youth, enabling them to discuss sensitive issues like sex, violence and family planning and help them to make informed decisions to lead healthy, productive lives. One of the organisations that has had the maximum impact on and o the eld in Africa is Grassroots Soccer. Grassroot Soccer is a non-pro t organization founded in 2002 that uses the power of football to educate, inspire, and empower communities to stop the spread of HIV. Grassroot Soccer envisions a world mobilized through soccer to create an AIDS-free generation. Grassroot Soccer has programs in multiple countries with agship sites in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Founded by four professional soccer players, Grassroot Soccer is mobilizing the most vulnerable population of youth ages 12–19 to break the cycle of AIDS by engaging local coaches who equip young people with the knowledge, skills and support they need to avoid HIV. To date the organisation has reached out to more than 577,900 youth. Mission Grassroot Soccer uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV. Why Football as a Medium Football is an integral part of local cultures across the world. It is something so positive that it brings smiles to children’s faces even in the worst of circumstances. In most places simply arriving at a eld with a soccer ball will win instant friendships and immediate access into a local community. Football teams and leagues are ubiquitous structures in even the most impoverished areas and professional football players are heroes to the kids who watch them play. Results “Overall, the Grassroot Soccer Program is a culturally appropriate, internationally suitable, creative, and e ective way to educate at-risk youth about HIV/AIDS and its prevention.”

“Grassroot Soccer uses the language and beauty of the game to break down barriers, build trust, and educate young people to adopt healthy behaviors. Soccer becomes part of the solution. Another thing that stands out to me about Grassroot Soccer is the way messages are delivered by role models who the kids can relate to.”
Robert Pires | Former Arsenal FC and World Cup Winner with France


Grassroots Football in India The term ‘sleeping giant’ is often used to describe Indian football and its massive potential talent pool, but former India national team coach Armando Colaco thinks o cials have to wake up to the problems at grassroots level if India is ever going to qualify for a FIFA World Cup. Scott O’ Donell, Technical Director of AIFF academies, speaking about grassroots football in India said, “The biggest thing missing in India’s football triangle is the base. There is no grassroots football in India.” O’Donell was also critical about the clubs spending a signi cant percentage of their budget on players with the sole motive being to win the I-League. That hardly leaves any funding or attention towards grassroots football where young talent can be spotted. For Indian football to develop, we must get more young boys and girls between the ages 6 and 12 to play football. India Football Statistics 20,588,000 No. of football players 6,450 No. of Football Clubs 385,000 No. of Registered Players 20,203,000 No. of Unregistered Players

Starting o young would help us to create a database of players at just the right age,” O’Donell said. Scott also opined that India has been left much behind, about 20 years according to him, in terms of football development when compared with what others have done. Speaking at a 5 day camp in Mumbai, Real Madrid Foundation International head coach Escudero Tello Guillermo shared that he believes it’s not the dearth of talent but the lack of infrastructure that is the prime reason for the country to be ranked 149 out of 209 football playing nations. “In these 3 days, I have noticed that the skill level here in kids is no di erent than European players or other players from Japan or other countries. Maybe in the future with better grounds and elds, the kids can improve faster. I know in India the most famous sport is cricket. I think football needs more help from the government so that kids have better elds to practice,” said Guillermo.

“Most Indian kids have a passion for football but there are not quali ed coaches at the grassroots level to help them.”
Bhaichung Bhutia | Former India national team captain

FIFA on India Jérôme Valcke, FIFA Secretary General, when asked on FIFA’s development plans for India, said, “With India, we’re engaging on a 10-year development plan, which would include, if con rmed by the FIFA Executive committee, the hosting of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017 in India. There is no football without a strong base, without grassroots football. There is also a lack of infrastructure here which hinders the growth of the game too; in this area also, we will be active. With a population of 1.2 billion, it can’t be that you cannot have another sport than cricket. There is de nitely space for football and, by the way, football is very much spread at school level. After this visit, we are even more convinced about India’s football potential.”


Jérôme Valcke went on explaining why India was chosen as a priority for the development of the game, “After the 2010 FIFA World Cup, we consulted the Asian Football Confederation and agreed together to concentrate our development e orts on one country where we believe the potential is huge, rather than on the entire continent which is so large. And that country is India. However, we rmly believe that the boost of the development of football in India will have a positive ‘domino e ect’ on the neighbouring countries as well.

“India is a priority for us. There is no football without a strong base, without grassroots football.”
Jérôme Valcke | Secretary General, FIFA

Demand & Supply in Football The grassroots football ecosystem in India can be divided into 2 major parts, Demand and Supply. Demand refers to the level of interest in football by the consumers. Supply refers to di erent ways this demand is met. In this report we will highlight the key suppliers present in India. We have identi ed 7 key stakeholders/suppliers, which are represented in Figure 4. Through case studies on an example of each of these stakeholders, we have explained their role, their de nitions, philosophies, initiatives, objectives and future plans.

Figure 7: The stakeholders in Indian football

“The Under 17 FIFA World Cup would provide a huge boost for football all over India, particularly at the Grassroots level.”
Scott O’Donell | Technical Director, AIFF Academies


The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is the governing body of football in India which includes the administration of the Indian national football teams and organizing the I-League, India's premier domestic club competition in addition to various other football properties. Objectives of the AIFF 1. To improve and popularise the game of football constantly and promote it throughout India in the light of its unifying, educational, cultural and humanitarian values, particularly through youth and development programmes to urban, rural and remote areas including Schools, Colleges and Universities. 2. To organise its annual domestic and International Competitions. 3. To draw up regulations and provisions and ensure their enforcement. 4. To control every type of Association Football including Friendly Matches by taking appropriate steps to prevent infringements of Statues, regulations or decisions of FIFA, AIFF or of the Laws of the Game.

“We believe that a robust Grassroots program is imperative for the development of football.”
Kushal Das | General Secretary, AIFF

To become a successful footballing nation and be able to compete against the best, it is clear that there needs to be a strong focus on youth development. Maximum focus and e orts have been directed at youth development by the AIFF as that is our future. Rob Baan and his team comprising of Scott O’Donell (Technical Director of AIFF Academies) have been working relentlessly since their rst day in India to give shape to our most talented youth and set up a high quality supply line of players for the India Senior Team under Wim Kovermanns. De nition The AIFF aligns itself with FIFA and AFC’s de nition of grassroots football which is, “Grassroots football is football for boys and girls between 6-12 years of age. Grassroots football is simple, fun and easy to organise and is an introduction to the game for any child. It provides children the access to football in a safe, enjoyable and positive environment. A good introduction of football to every child and ensuring that the children enjoy football, will help in the child continuing to participate in the sport in the long run. ”


KEY OBJECTIVES • • • • • • • • Attract young players to the sport; allow access to football in a child’s own environment. Football for all; irrespective of skin color, gender, nationality, religion or ethnicity. Grassroots Football programs target boys and girls between 6-12 through school, club and community initiatives. Development before winning: Ensure child’s overall development comes before winning or losing. Consists of small sided games and age specific activities Football is FUN: Create an enjoyable experience for kids Football can be played anywhere, everywhere Football is the best teacher, teaches the values of life

Figure 8: AIFF Grassroots initiatives

“We have to start early if we want to grow as a footballing nation and develop the grassroots. We need to work on the pyramid and that stays the main objective of the Federation.”
Praful Patel | President, AIFF


AIFF Grassroots Initiatives Grassroots Courses Due to the vast di erences across the Indian subcontinent, the AIFF along with the State FAs developed a tailor-made strategic plan for each state for grassroots football which is in line with the overall AIFF Grassroots Strategic Plan. 5 States have already adopted AIFF’s strategic grassroots plan.This plan includes courses and festivals, ensuring that selected local leaders implement the grassroots philosophy in their everyday training with kids and most importantly provide as many children as possible with an opportunity to play football. 3 FIFA Grassroots courses and 4 AIFF Grassroots courses have been conducted in the past year. All courses are followed by a Football Festival which is typically attended by 80-120 children. The festivals have various technical and evaluation stations which last for 90 minutes. The Grassroots Leaders are trained to implement the AIFF’s Grassroots Football philosophy in everyday training. The Grassroots Leaders come from a diverse background, including School Football Teachers, Coaches, Football Academy coaches, Enthusiasts etc. Participants are chosen based on their current involvement and commitment to continue working in Grassroots Football. The grassroots Courses have been held in locations mentioned below. • • • • • • Aizawl, Mizoram Kalyani, West Bengal Mumbai, Maharashtra Chandigarh, Punjab Imphal, Manipur Goa, Maharashtra

“A trained Grassroots leader is expected to encourage and identify future Grassroots leaders in his/her region to spread the message.”
Suvrat Thatte | Development Manager, AIFF

Appointment of full time personnel Following on from completion of the rst GR course in the State, the State FA is encouraged to employ a full-time Development O cer who will oversee the entire Grassroots program in the State. This individual must be one who has completed an AIFF/FIFA GR course.


State FA run Grassroots centres Upon completion of the GR course in the State, the State FA starts Grassroots centres in each district of the State, which are run under the auspices of the State Association in association with the District Football Association. The centre-in charge has to be an FIFA/AIFF GR course trained GR Leader. This Grassroots centre is run as per the model designed by the AIFF. Eventually each district starts one Grassroots centre run by the State Association and the respective District Association. Depending on the requirement of a particular State and the capacity to expand operations, each district may have more such State-District FA run GR centres. In the State FA – District FA run GR centres, the AIFF model for Grassroots centres is followed. i) GR centre run by the State FA-District FA together. ii) A maximum of 180 kids are given an opportunity to participate in the program. The children train three days a week. 90 kids train Monday- Wednesday-Friday and the other 90 train Tuesday-ThursdaySaturday. iii) The GR program for 3 months and is continued in 3 month programs across the year. iv) The kids had to pay a very small entry fee to get on the program. This is a very small fee only to take care of the cost of running the centre and ensures long term sustainability. v) Upon completion of the three-month program, children can enrol again, or new kids will be given the opportunity. vi) All coaches coaching at these GR centres have to be AIFF/FIFA GR course trained individuals. At the moment, Mizoram FA have started GR centres in 8 districts, All Manipur FA in 2 districts and Goa Football Association have 11 GR centres functional. Very soon all other projects will also commence on their GR centres. AIFF understand that it is di cult for the State FAs to cater to the requirements and run GR centres which can accommodate all children in the State. Hence apart from the State FA run Grassroots all other initiatives should be in line with the AIFF – State FA Grassroots philosophy. To ensure this the AIFF has developed a ‘certi cation criteria’ wherein the GR initiatives in the State are certi ed by the State FA. O cial certi cation program A Grassroots centre is a term used by the AIFF for ease of explanation. A GR centre is basically where Grassroots football is conducted. This can be through a school, a football club, a community centre etc. To ensure that the other GR Leaders who have passed out of the GR course are following the same philosophy, the AIFF has designed an ‘o cial certi cation program’. Under this program, all the GR centres/schools run by private entities (schools, clubs or community initiatives) will be certi ed by the State Association upon ful lment of certain criteria. An assessment of all GR initiatives will be carried out by the Development O cer of the State. The criteria is simple, but an e ective means of streamlining all GR activities under the State FA GR program umbrella. Hence all GR activities in the State are encouraged to get o cially certi ed and a liated to the State FA GR program. The AIFF is also developing software for registration of GR players wherein all players whether in the State FA run GR centres of in the o cially certi ed GR centres will be registered through the software.


Grassroots Festivals As a part of the AIFF’s celebration of AFC Grassroots Day on May 15, 2013, 40 grassroots festivals were conducted across India. The festivals were conducted in di erent districts by grassroots leaders trained during FIFA/AIFF grassroots courses held over the past year. The festivals were supported by the State Associations and district associations. The festivals received fantastic response and close to 3000 kids were part of the celebrations participating in the various festivals. The success of the event reinforced the AIFF's commitment to the development of grassroots football in India. The success of the Festivals is a signi cant step showing that the Grassroots Programme has generated widespread interest not only from the new Grassroots Leaders, but also for the parents and schools.The Festivals were held across many States such as Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi NCR, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Kerala, Haryana, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Mizoram, Sikkim, West Bengal, etc. AIFF Technical Director Robert Baan echoed the sentiment adding, "All India Football Federation has started to organise one of the most successful activities in football, the implementation of Grassroot Football in most of the states. Within 10 years from now, India will produce the new Sneijders, Van Persies or Robbens." Scott O'Donell, AIFF Director of Coach Education and a FIFA Grassroots Instructor himself felt that Grassroots Development was the way forward for the development of Indian football.

A participant gets a football and a high- ve from India National team Head Coach Wim Koevermans at an AIFF Grassroots Festival (Image courtesy: AIFF Media)

"It is great to see so many Grassroots Festivals taking place to help celebrate AFC's Year of Grassroots Football. Grassroots Football is an essential part of the development of football in India and I hope this is just the start of bigger and better things for us," Scott maintained. Kushal Das also said, "In this way the target is that in the next four years all states undertake grassroots football development. We hereby thank the AFC for the support and once again rea rm our commitment to the development of grassroots football in India."


Coach Education The AIFF D-Licence Course forms an introductory step to Professional Football Coaching in India. The Course deals with teaching the bare basics of Football Coaching to rookie Coaches. The Course duration is 6 days. Scott O’Donell said, “Grassroots stay on the top of our priority list and hence this course stays important. You need good Coaches for the Grassroots and the D License Course prepares you for that. You get to teach the kids and the instructors are there to guide you. You get to learn a lot. The participants are very enthusiastic and I am very happy with the way things are going.”

“This is very essential. I have been a part of Coach Education for long and I can tell you that D License Programs are essential for Grassroots Development. You need good coaches to look after young players at the Grassroots level.”
Wim Koevermans | Head Coach, India National team

India Technical Director Rob Baan conducting a Coaches’ seminar in Mumbai (Image courtesy: AIFF Media)


Senior National Team

U-23 National Team (National B Team)

National teams

Under-21 National Team

Under-19 National Team

Under-17 National Team


Club Academies

AIFF Regional and Elite Academies

National School Championships Inter-School Tournaments

AFC Festivals

National Championships District & State Championships Private Academies


Inter-Academy Tournaments Football Schools

Regular Schools

Figure 10: Development Pathway for Young Players

Kushal Das, General Secretary of AIFF said, “I rmly believe that there are multiple aspects that we need to work on to signi cantly improve the state of football in India. Further, this can only be achieved through a collective and streamlined e ort from all the stakeholders involved in football, who are working towards a common vision.”


“AIFF has a comprehensive overall Grassroots Development Programme in place which is rolled out through the State Football Associations. In a short span of seven months, ve states have adopted the AIFF Grassroots Plan.”
Kushal Das | General Secretary, AIFF

There are thirty three State Associations a liated to the AIFF. The State Associations have their own constitution and structure. Depending on the size of the State, the State Associations have district associations a liated to them. Clubs are a liated to the district associations. In smaller States the Clubs are directly a liated to the State Association. Each State conducts its own competitions. Competitions are at district level. There are also inter-district competitions. In India Goa has been one of the most active states with regards to football. Goa has 4 clubs playing in the I League rst division. In addition, Goa is one of the few states which has a strong focus on grassroots football. Apart from various grassroot level competitions it also house SESA Football Academy, a residential academy which develops youth footballers. Goa Football Association The Goa Football Association (GFA) was founded in 1959. The GFA has been making serious e orts to develop the game, in a bid to keep pace with the fast changing scenario in the country. Besides going professional with the game, GFA has taken a major step forward in initiating a youth development programme. Until recently the crop of local players that surfaced were mostly those playing in inter-village tournaments organised in the rice elds of Goa. These youth were not exposed to any structured training. This resulted in the development of sub-standard players as their technical fundamentals were weak, directly a ected the quality of competition at the senior level thus creating many challenges in marketing the game to the public. With the quality of football being sub-standard at the top level, sponsorships and paying spectators were hard to come by. Grassroots Football De nition According to the GFA, the idea behind grassroots football is to provide children with a positive experience and give them all an equal opportunity to play, without focusing on winning and losing. The focus is on having fun, on teaching children key life skills like respect, honesty and teamwork and helping them get familiar with the ball. For a State Association, the target is to broad-base (inclusively) the sport as well as ensure delivery of a quality programme at the grassroots for those children who do not have access to the sport. Philosophy The establishment of Youth Development Centers (YDC) throughout Goa are an integral part of the GFA’s player development pathway and is the platform from which youth players are selected.The philosophy of each Centre is to disseminate technical, tactical and theoretical information to each player stimulating the players learning. Therefore, every Centre considers the needs of each player and takes into account their developmental stage from a growth, development and maturity perspective and implements a programme to develop young players who have and can maximise their potential.


Figure 11: The Goa Football Association Pyramid

Professional League 10 Clubs

Second Division 79 Clubs 3 Zones

Third Division 28 Clubs 4 Zones

The program also aims to develop a cadre of community sports coaches helping the Goa Football Association (“GFA”) to deliver a high quality (well organised, regular, age-appropriate, fun, inclusive) YDP for children from the ages of 8 to 14 years in Goa.The GFA Youth Development Program (YDP) aims to encourage football participation from the grassroots and provide a pathway for recreational as well as elite performance football players. Another major step taken by the GFA is in development and training of youth coaches. The coaches training programme serves to grow the knowledge pool of football coaches in Goa (especially at the junior/community coach level). The GFA works in collaboration with Football Federation Australia (FFA), to ensure that programme inputs and delivery meet certain quality standards so as to bene t all concerned stakeholders as well as establish growth pathways for coaches and athletes. Initiatives Goa's Youth Football Development Programme was launched in 1998, with nancial support from Kannan Devan, a subsidiary of the Tata Tea Company. In 2010, on the recommendation of the AFC, the Australian Sports Commission began funding the GFA programmes under a 5 year plan. To ensure the smooth operation of the programme, the Youth Development Committee, in a major shift of policy, introduced a new system that enabled the continuity of the programme at a centre through the various age groups. The GFA has also decided on developing coaches for grassroot level development.

“I was impressed by the quality and enthusiasm of the participants. All are very passionate about Grassroots Programs and have understood they are capable of conducting Grassroots Programs in Goa.”
Scott O’Donell | Technical Director, AIFF Academies


Currently, the GFA runs 11 Youth Development Centres. A YDC is a coaching centre for U10, U12, U14 age groups. Players gain access to the “Centre of Excellence” through a trial process organised and delivered by the local organisations such as educational establishments, football club community programmes, etc. Players will be accepted into a YDC when it is appropriate for the player’s development. The YDC is run by a local organisation/club. They will facilitate the organisation of the Centre along with appointing coaches and managers with appropriate coaching quali cations for each age group. The YDC will appoint a Centre Manager who will administer the Centre providing players and coaches with all the necessary information relating to trials, training times and venues, kit, codes of conducts, etc. The Centre Manager will be the main point of contact and the YDC will operate according to the guidelines laid down by the GFA. The Youth Development Committee has two Technical Directors, Visitacao Lobo working in the North, and based at Duler and Brahmanand Shankhwalkar working in the South and based at Fatorda. Marcus Pacheco is a special instructor.

“Goa serves as a catalyst and gateway for football in India. Our endeavour to achieve our dream of putting Indian football on the International and world map is gradually unfolding.”
Dr. Ru no Monteiro | Chairman, Goa Football Development Council

FFA Collaboration FFA’s work, supported by Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP), is to help GFA train community (grassroots) football coaches and enable the establishment of Football Centres throughout the state. The Football Centres and trained coaches are intended to raise the quality of coaching, to build the capacity of the GFA to train more coaches in the future, and to signi cantly increase the number of children exposed to and enjoying football. Concurrently, the program addresses the prominent social issue of children being physically inactive whilst also challenging the often held perception that sport can hinder, rather than help, the academic progress of children. The program has received considerable and positive media attention in the region and has received endorsement from the national governing body of football in India, the AIFF.


In India, traditionally, football or any sport has often been viewed as either an ordinary recreational activity or simply a waste of time. Parents try to limit their children’s playing time and prefer them to spend maximum time on studying and scoring well in exams so that they can secure a lucrative professional career for themselves. Pursuing professional football as a career is hardly, if ever, given a serious thought and there is a lot of scepticism on the possibility of making a good living through such a career. In most countries in Europe, South America or Africa, it is quite the opposite. Parents encourage their children to take up a football career and love to think of their son or daughter as a future Beckham, Ronaldo, or Messi. They do not mind cutting short their child’s formal education at high school or college, as long as he/she has the chance of making a career as a professional player. The AIFF recognizes the importance of making professional football an attractive career option in the minds of not only children, but also their parents. This includes a holistic development of the sport including a better pathway for talent, more professional competitions, better salaries, better social laws, etc. In addition, it is critical that more jobs are created in football such as technical directors, coaches, scouts, physiotherapists, masseurs, administrators, etc. In India, there is a tremendous amount of school football with several interschool tournaments being organized on a national as well local basis. A school team is often the rst organized football team that a child becomes part of. Hence, football in schools play an important role in promoting the sport among students.

“Football promotes team spirit and fair play. In a nutshell, football is a school of life.”
Sepp Blatter | President , FIFA

Matchday at the Ryan All-India Inter School Tournament, Goa 2012


Scottish High School Scottish High International School in Gurgaon has been making headlines for their performances in various grassroots football leagues and tournaments across the country. Champions of various National and State level tournaments like Youth Champions League, Goa, Brazil International Football Academy, TheFootballLink Junior League, this team is noted not only for their results but also their attractive style of football. We spoke to Mr. Deepak Jha, the coach of the team who setup the football programme in the school from scratch. Mr. Jha, a graduate from Sports College, Delhi University re ects back on how he faced rejection for jobs due to not having played football professionally. This is when he realised the importance of understanding the Indian social structure and psyche to achieve his goal of promoting football e ectively. Objective Mr. Deepak Jha has a long term plan where he wants to create a positive football environment under which a footballing culture can thrive. He realises this is not possible without the support of parents and through his programmes tries to show parents the bene ts of football on and o the pitch. Mr. Jha believes that to develop football a strong base is required. He said, “To build a large sturdy skyscraper, a strong foundation is essential. Similarly grassroots provides a stable base or foundation for football to thrive on, it’s absolutely essential for footballs growth.” He believes that schools have important role to play as a stakeholder in the development of grassroots football in India because children spend 8-9 hrs every day in the school. School is where children get a rst taste of working in a team playing in tournaments. He also stresses on how Indian parents trust schools and teachers making the process smoother. He ensures his students get maximum exposure and opportunities through participation in various tournaments and camps.

Matchday at the Scottish High Inter School Tournament, Gurgaon 2012


Philosophy The football programme at Scottish High focuses on grassroots development and the children get access to football as early as 4 yrs old. They believe in holistic development of the child and inculcate social and moral values through football. Mr. Jha has developed the football curriculum personally which is divided into 3 stages . Stage I Enjoyment: It’s the most important aspect of grassroots football; above everything the children must enjoy playing football. Stage II Involvement: Due to enjoyment one can expect a deeper and more regular involvement. Stage III Development: After involvement comes development, which helps the overall football development in the country.

Figure 12: The 3 Stages of Scottish High Football Philosophy

To be able to compete internationally he believes Indian players need to improve their “Neuro Muscular Coordination.” He has designed drills to improve and work this. Visualize, Evaluate, Execute is the 3 step philosophy his students follow. His students display excellent discipline on and o the eld. The importance of fair play and respect has been drilled into the children. His proudest achievement he says is the improvement in the mental and physical health of an Autistic child enrolled in the school’s football programme. It’s because of such values he has gained the trust and support of parents. Challenges Speaking about shortcomings in the Indian grassroots football scenario he mentioned the lack of availability of grounds for children to play in. He also stressed on the need for more and better organised league, tournaments and coaching programmes and a stronger connection between AIFF and the grassroots football community.


The involvement of the corporate sector is very important in the development of grassroots football. Brands provide a much needed nancial injection which aids the growth of the sport. One of the most active brands investing in Indian grassroots football is Coca-Cola. They have created many di erent platforms for the development of Grassroots football in India. Coca-Cola Coca-Cola promotes active healthy living by o ering products that help people to manage their calorie intake and energy balance and by encouraging physical activity. They seek to make sport and tness activities more accessible to more people and to demonstrate their importance as part of a healthy lifestyle. The brand’s commitment is to encourage active, healthy living by supporting physical activity and nutrition education programs. Coca-Cola has a global partnership with FIFA as well as a program called “Active Healthy Lifestyle.” As a part of the Active Healthy Living program a few of their initiatives have been highlighted below.

Full house at the Coca-Cola Cup Tier 1 nal between Meghalaya and Orissa (Image courtesy: AIFF Media)

Coca-Cola Cup Background The Coca-Cola Cup, previously known as Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy, is an annual football tournament organized by AIFF since 1977. The Coca-Cola Cup is a tournament which aims to promote football at the grassroots level and provide a much needed platform for aspiring footballers from across the country and prepare a strong Under-16 Indian Football team. It is open to all young footballers in the age group of 12-15 years.

“The Coca-Cola Cup has o ered the young and budding football players of our nation with a platform to demonstrate as well as hone their skills in the sport.”
Robert Baan | Technical Director, AIFF


According to Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation (AIFF), "Sporting events such as 'The Coca-Cola Cup, provide young footballers with an opportunity to showcase their talent and to be a part of the India Under-16 Football Team. We have received an overwhelming response over the last two years and we are thrilled to take this nationwide tournament to the next level. We are working towards providing the right infrastructure and training facilities to the youth and our partnership with Coca-Cola India is a boost to our plans. We believe that this tournament will play an active role in encouraging youngsters to adopt football as their preferred sport." According to Anupama Ahluwalia, VP-Marketing, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia, "With Coca-Cola Cup, we are committed to nurture potential football superstars of tomorrow by providing them with a platform and an opportunity to develop their inherent talent into a real-life profession. We are a company with a worldwide focus on football and believe in promoting a healthy, active lifestyle. We believe that Indian football has huge potential and by supporting AIFF for this tournament, we are tapping young football talent to train them according to International football standards."

“It has been our endeavour to promote grassroots level football by associating with tournaments at the school level.”
Atul Singh | Deputy President, Coca-Cola (Paci c Group)

Format Stage I (District & State Level) The tournament begins with Inter-School tournaments at a District Level. This is followed by a competition or a skill trial among talented football players organized by the various District Football Associations. District level teams then compete within their State, where the State Football Association select a team to represent the respective state at the Regional level. Inter-State Tournaments are held in 5 regional rounds. Stage II (Zonal Level) 27 state teams competed with each other across di erent zones(a) North East (b) South (c) West (d) East (e) North Top two teams from each zone will then advance to the national level. Stage III (National Level) Ten teams from the zonal level qualify for the national level which is played at New Delhi. In the end, two teams play the National Finals with the winners lifting the 'Coca-Cola Cup'. During the Stage III, AIFF talent spotters will identi ed and short-list 40 promising young footballers who are then coached and groomed to form the National Under-16 Sub-Junior Team.


Highlights • Nearly 40,000 students from across India compete in the Coca-Cola Cup each year • Exceptional talent from this tournament goes on to represent the India under-16 national football team • In a past edition of the event, top players were identified and sent to South Africa for coaching and skill development just before the FIFA World Cup 2010 • Indian youth National Team Player, Uttam Rai, was identified at the Coca-Cola Cup and subsequently sent to Colorado, USA to join the Colorado Rush Academy through a Coca-Cola scholarship

Coca-Cola Celebration Cup Coca-Cola India has partnered with Goa Football Association to organize 'The Coca-Cola Celebration Cup', a grassroot level championship, to discover young promising football talent in Goa. This initiative was a part of Coca-Cola India's activation around the FIFA World Cup 2010. Anand Singh, Director Marketing, Coca-Cola India said, "We believe that great football talent exists in Goa and we need to identify and nurture it through interesting initiatives such as the Coca-Cola Celebration Cup. We are happy to partner with Goa Football Association for the Coca-Cola Celebration Cup, which has the potential to emerge as a powerful youth program and create a grassroots football movement in the state." Uttam Rai Sponsorship Coca-Cola sponsored talented India U-16 footballer Uttam Rai's six-month training stint at Colorado Rush Football Academy in the United States. The 15-year-old, was spotted by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in 2009 at the Coca-Cola Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy. The Cola giants picked up the player's tab for the airfare and stay in the US. Atul Singh, CEO, Coca Cola India and South West Asia said, "At Coca-Cola India, it has been our endeavour to promote grassroots level sports by associating with tournaments at the school level. It is a proud moment for us that our very own talent from the Coca-Cola Cup, Under-16 tournament - Uttam Rai - will now be training at the Colorado Rush Soccer Development Academy. This recognition for talent at the grassroots level is very encouraging as India prepares to take the leap to the next level with the sport.

Uttam Rai with Atul Singh, Deputy President Coca-Cola (Pacific Group)

We hope that there will be more recognition and many more opportunities from international clubs and associations for the talent in this country. We are certain that with his immense talent and potential and passion for the game, Uttam will earn recognition on the international stage." Uttam, who hails from Sikkim, spent 5 months at Colarado Rush and 2 weeks with MLS club Chicago Fire. Coca-Cola is involved in many other football initiatives across India, including sponsoring various local tournaments and as beverage partners. A notable property at the College level is the Coca-Cola Elliot Shield, held in association with the Indian Fotball Association in Kolkata.


The unbridled joy on the faces of a few street children kicking a broken bucket around a slushy ground in an impromptu game of football, blissfully unaware of the pelting rain in the midst of a sudden rainstorm, prompted the founding of our organization; Slum Soccer. The ‘beautiful game’ is a unique and yet, a perfect vehicle that transcends race, religion, language and gender to bring about a change in the lives of street dwellers. To equip the to deal with and emerge from the disadvantages riding on the back of their homelessness, Slum Soccer use the medium of football. Unconventional as it may seem, development through sport has a track record of being successful, across continents and from experience. They function with the ultimate aim of reaching out to the Indian homeless using football as a tool for social improvement and empowerment.

“The uniqueness of NGO’s is that they target that section of the society which is not the focus of other stakeholders mentioned, which means through their e orts they end up increasing the player base. Football has a universal appeal, it is an easy sport with not too many technical rules and costly equipment, once you get participants hooked on to sessions it becomes very easy to convey social messages and ideas as a part of the regular session or even otherwise.”
Abhijit Barse | CEO, Slum Soccer

AIFF General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das states, "Using football to pursue social and development goals like gender equality is something we fully support. We believe the beautiful game can play an important role in creating a signi cant impact on the society," According to Mr. Abhijt Barse CEO of Slum Soccer their research has shown that the number of clubs registering with the local FA increased since their e orts began to take shape. As a result of Slum Soccer’s ongoing e orts the level of football has gone up, while the organization has been able to create parallel structures that could strengthen regular football. De nition Grassroots football for Slum Soccer means development of the last or the farthest person in terms of connectivity from regular or professional football. Slum Soccer is essentially an organization/e ort aimed towards rst o developing football, as well as using the passion for football to pass on social message and development opportunities to their target groups. Importance Grassroots football deals in a large number of untapped/potential talent, by making sure a large number of youngster play regularly football, Slum Soccer hopes that the love for the game will increase and e ect more and more people and secondly as more and more people play football the level of football will rise as the competition increases. Their job is to create opportunities for the masses (in their case players from slums) to participate in tournaments in an organized manner there by giving them something to look forward in terms of entertainment and personal engagement.

Philosophy Football incorporates a lot of values and skill sets that are vital in life. From being social mis ts, players who have participated in Slum Soccer’s programs transform into people who have the ability to work with a team and they learn to trust their team mates. While the positive psychological impacts that football has on the participants are latent and often take time to fully manifest, one change that is immediately apparent is the marked improvement in physical tness levels. All this said and done, the biggest factor that enables Slum Soccer to use football as a tool to connect with our people and bring about social development is quite stunningly simple. Football is fun! Slum Soccer has however always attempted to make participating individuals self-reliant in order to ensure that their rehabilitation is sustainable. The game of Football is their means to that end. In their experience, they have found it an extremely e ective measure to get the homeless o the streets as a rst step, enabling them to work with them further. All Slum Soccer ask them to do is kick a ball. That simple act is therapeutic in a Freudian sense. The inanimate football is the outlet through which all the frustration and disappointment the homeless endure are channelled out. The prospect of an evening kick about could possibly be something if not the only thing that they have to look forward to. They come to realize that football pitches aren’t a place where they are victimized or preyed upon, and can for some time let their guard down. As a rst step, Slum Soccer attempt to give our participating players hope. Objectives Slum Soccer has always worked with the aim of reaching out to the Indian homeless using football as a tool for social improvement and empowerment. Slum Soccer began based on the simple philosophy ‘Football for All’. Most organizations working with the sport as a change agent emphasise on development through sport as their focus. Slum Soccer has always aimed to nd middle ground by ensuring that while seeking the bene ts that sport o ers to community development, development of the sport itself is not neglected.In view of this evolving philosophy, they now aim to make these participants employable. In addition to enabling them to function in a conventional society, Slum Soccer also hopes to impart certain life skills using di erent media like the art, drama and music. Slum Soccer believes the time is also right for the ‘Corporatization’ of Slum Soccer. The aforementioned term is not normally used with reference to Non Governmental Charitable Organizations. It does evoke mental imagery of pro t mongering. However, the intention here is to bring order into our rapidly growing setup by getting youngsters and professionals involved in Social Responsibility. Their vision is to develop a structure conventionally seen in corporations and empowering interested volunteers by placing them in departments where they feel they could best contribute.

Slum Soccer representing India at the Homeless World Cup 2013 in Poznan, Poland (Image courtesy: Slum Soccer on Facebook)


Initiatives ‘Young stars’ is one of their main player development projects and is currently implemented at the Koradi centre in Nagpur. The aim of the project is to provide football training to the participants to bring them together and to ensure that they are provided with basic education. Currently they are associated with three schools from Nagpur who are providing them with the participants and the ground to conduct the football training. Over years they have seen a lot of children back into the academic curriculum and are continuing football training with us on a daily basis. In addition to the academic education those kids are also given inputs from Slum Soccer curriculum as well. The idea is to improve the overall social standards of the population. Slum Soccer National Championship is played for and by the underprivileged youth of India. A concept to change life in the slums 11 years back, where the underprivileged youth is only privileged enough to participate. Since last ten years, Slum Soccer has transformed this tournament into a National Championship, where teams from all over the country collide and some of the players are extracted to represent India in the Homeless World Cup, where 63 nations meet every year for the World Championship. Future Plans Slum Soccer’s future plans include development of a full scale academy and regular tournament for target groups, increasing the number of coaches training programmes they execute and continue running smaller programs in at risk areas to reach the masses. On a national level, Slum Soccer would like to bring together all the social organizations that are using football to deliver social changes and to create a forum that can exchange best practise and increase both the level of football as well as the social impact of football.

Slum Soccer in Chennai (Image courtesy: Slum Soccer on Facebook)


“The Football industry is a team game; all stakeholders support each other to create a sustainable & progressive platform for the game. The Private sector acts as a glue to help sustain a market in football; binding all stakeholders by providing them products & services to keep the ball rolling.”
Chetan Misra | Founder, TheFootballLink

Background TheFootballLink (TFL) is a Delhi based organization involved in exploring the football ecosystem across India where all the stakeholders in Indian football collectively organize various initiatives in grassroots football - Academies, Tournaments, Festivals, Seminars, Leagues, Underprivileged programs & Research papers - to understand & advance football as a business, advertising & brand building platform, and as a sustainable medium for social development, healthy lifestyle and entertainment. TheFootballLink has organized more than 135 initiatives including Football Academies, Tournaments, Scouting Festivals, Coach Development Programs, Seminars, Leagues & Research Papers, RWA Campaigns. In the past three years, they have directly worked with more than 20,000 children/youth from the privileged and underprivileged sectors of the society.

Figure 13: TheFootballLink Approach

TheFootballLink Philosophy TheFootballLink initiatives are designed to directly bene t the players, which in turn helps accelerate the growth of the game. As the game grows, the opportunities also grow, which helps create a nancially sustainable ecosystem for football. All the bene ts (both commercial & social) are equally shared by all the stakeholders motivating them to further support each other. Through this symbiotic process they aim to create a spiral bene t curve, resulting in more opportunities and further bene ts to all the stakeholders involved in football.


Figure 14: TheFootballLink Philosophy

The company believes in giving quality, building credibility in the process and nally converting the trust developed into a business model both at a macro and the micro level. The company operates under its motto - True to the Player. True to the Game.

Figure 15: Spiral Bene t Curve

TheFootballLink Kashmir Festival, Srinagar 2013 (Image courtesy: TheFootballLink on Facebook)


Key Initiatives TheFootballLink International Festival (2012) In 2012, they organized TheFootballLink International Festival in association with Manchester City FC & AC Milan Junior Camp. As part of the Festival, multiple tournaments (School championship – 80 teams, F-cube College/Open Championship – 256 teams & Corporate Championship – 64 teams), coaching camps and social initiatives were organized. This festival attracted more than 5000 participants from di erent age groups, making it the largest football festival organized in India. TheFootballLink Kashmir Festival (2013) As a follow up to the Delhi Festival, they organized TheFootballLink Kashmir Festival 2013 in collaboration with the Jammu & Kashmir Football Association, from the 10 -17 May 2013 at the Bakshi Stadium & Polo Ground, Srinagar. With more than 2000 football players participating across multiple tournaments (Schools, Colleges/Open, Orphanages & Girls), Scouting Programs and Workshops, this was the largest Football initiative ever organized in Jammu & Kashmir. Child & Youth Development Program (CYDP) CYDP is a collaborative e ort by the Delhi Police and TheFootballLink to nurture & protect at-risk children and youth of low income families from crime & abuse. This program provides a sports-based platform that aids physical, mental and social development of underprivileged children & youth under the guidance & mentorship of the Delhi Police. CYDP Phases (2012 onwards): I. Educate children and parents on the bene ts of football through on-ground presentations in slums and schools and build a favorable image of the police II. Link and connect CSR initiatives, grants, donations through an online platform to contribute to the on-ground football projects III. Provide a fun environment for children where they learn a skill, imbibe values of discipline and respect and nd mentors in the Police who build on their personality IV. Constantly Monitor the program through independent organizations to ensure its transparency, accountability, quality and e ectiveness V. Generate accurate data and information to Evaluate the program and overcome any shortcomings while generating statistical data to analyze its impact.

Participants at TheFootballLink festival (Image courtesy: TheFootballLink on Facebook)


Future Plans TFL’s plans have been divided in di erent phases as mentioned below. 2010-2012: 'Explore' • Organize various initiatives and case studies to explore the complex Indian cultural, social and political environment with respect to football. • Research and build data on how the Indian football ecosystem is performing, with projects/campaigns centered on benefiting all the stakeholders involved. 2013-2016: 'Monetize' • Use the World Cup 2014 fever and organize various modular football initiatives across tier 1-2 cities in India to engage with fans. • Organize advertising/PR campaigns for brands to connect football fans with various products and services • Set up football 'centers of learning' and 'community football clubs' with talented players scouted from the festivals 2017-2020: 'Maximize' • Create a sustainable business ecosystem where all stakeholders benefit from high return on Investments. • Organize friendly games between international clubs as part of the football festivals in Indian stadiums; capture the business and football minds of entire cities. • Organize initiatives & setup "Excellence centers" in tier 1,2,3 cities across India 2021-2024: 'Elite Academies' • Through festivals and camps, scout for talented players from different cities across India and give these talented footballers a platform to grow into international stars through specialized coaching and world class infrastructure Challenges Mr. Chetan Misra speaking about challenges in grassroots football said, “We can produce some of the world's brightest minds but are unable to produce world class footballers, not because we lack the ability but because we lack trust. We need to unite and work for each other instead of working for ourselves. We need to give all children, boys & girls, an opportunity to benefit from a game irrespective of their social or economic background.”



Conscient Football is a grassroots development initiative undertaken by the Conscient Group with the Heritage Schools network in Delhi NCR; the latter being a part of its ventures in the education sector, as an extension of its wider portfolio. Conscient Football is dedicated to raising the bar in football programming at the grassroots level by reaching out to children across Delhi NCR in the initial years, and the exclusive collaboration with one of the world's greatest football clubs- FCBarcelona is one of the various steps taken in that direction. The greater aim is to establish a nationwide footprint with its football development activities over the next few years whilst establishing the foundation in terms of a feeder program for FCBEscola- the world-class football school imparting high-class football education catering to the best players found within its programs. The FCBEscola which is at the apex of Conscient Football’s football development pyramid, is run by Technical Director from FCBarcelona and aims to put forth the best football players in the country who aspire to pursue the game professionally.

“We are excited to partner with Conscient Football to introduce FCBarcelona. India is an important and strategic country for FC Barcelona given their growing interest in football.”
Xevi Marce | Director, FCBEscola

Conscient Football is a unique example of an organization which has successfully integrated multiple stakeholder categories under one umbrella • As a Private Company • As a School • International Club • AIFF • Brands • NGO

FC Barcelona announces strategic partnership with Conscient Football, 2012


Conscient Football
Conscient Football Clinics ‘D’ License Coaching Course Programa Elite FCBEscola FCB Camps

NOV 2010

MAR 2011

MAY 2011

SEP 2011

NOV 2011

DEC-JAN 2011/12

MAR 2012

MAY, SEP 2012

OCT 2012

MAR 2013

MAR 2013

APR–AUG 2013

Conscient Premier Football League FC Barcelona Exposure Trip

Delhi School League FCB Camps FCB Camps

Conscient Premier Football League FCB Camps

FCBEscola Tournament, Spain

Figure 17: Conscient Football Eventline

As a Private Company Conscient Premier Football League The CPFL is a non-competitive league in lieu with the philosophy of the Conscient Group and encourages fair play, respect and integrity. The rst edition of CPFL included once a week training sessions and one match a weekend. The league was initiated as the CF’s agship event and operations began in November 2010. The league ran until March 2011, with a grand Closing Ceremony held at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Gurgaon with almost 3000+ people in attendance. Conscient Football Clinics Conscient Football partnered with Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools to conduct week-long football clinics at its Rohini and Gurgaon campuses and Kathuria Public School ground in March 2011. It was attended by more than 400 participants across the 3 venues. Programa Elite In Programa Elite, the players are evaluated, monitored and given constructive feedback continuously; they have one coach as their mentor who gets to know the players' strength and area for development. Every e ort is made to ensure each and every player develops to their potential.

Participants at the rst-ever FCBCamps in Pune, September 2012


Launch of FCBEscola Delhi, March 2012

International Club Barcelona Exposure Trip Conscient Football took 27 students and 4 administrators on a week-long football exposure trip to Barcelona. The trip provided youth with an opportunity to train with FC Barcelona coaches, watch FC Barcelona matches and experience culture in the Catalan capital. FCBCamp FCBCamp is a 5 day football training camp run for participants between the ages of 6 to 17. Coaches from FCBarcelona’s youth system conduct the camps along with assistance from CF coaches. Various sets of FCBCamps have been successfully completed across various cities in India like Gurgaon, Delhi, Bangalore, Jaipur, Pune and Vadodara in which more than 800 young footballers from across India participated. FCBEscola The FCBEscola Delhi NCR re ects the famed youth development system of FC Barcelona in Spain, globally recognized for its ability to identify, groom and nurture talent such as Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas, Xavi Hernandez, Gerard Pique, Victor Valdes, Carlos Puyol and Andres Iniesta among others. Mr. Antoni Claveria, Director of the FCBEscola India Project along with Mr. Jordi Arasa, Technical Director of the FCBEscola Delhi NCR are here to oversee the rst-of-its-kind football school in India and also to oversee the training at every FCB program in the country, ensuring that the quality of the curriculum remains the same as that being executed at the FCBEscola back in Spain. This o cial football school promises to be a truly sustainable platform where the best young footballers of the country are receiving an opportunity to train in the best methodology in the world over long periods of time. The Escola will have selected young footballers in the age group of 6-17 years & programs running around the year.


School Delhi School League Conscient Football and The British School came together in November 2011 to establish quality football programming for Delhi-based school students, with intent to create a successful model which can be taken nationally. Participating schools were: The Heritage School (Vasant Kunj, Gurgaon), The British School, Sanskriti, Modern School and DPS RK Puram. Federation AIFF “D” License Coaching Course In collaboration with the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Conscient Football conducted the rst ever week-long ‘D’ License Coaching Course at The Heritage School, Gurgaon for Conscient Football coaches and select The Heritage School sports teachers. The course was overseen by Mr. Gabriel Joseph, Director of Coaching – AIFF and his son Charles Joseph. Technical Collaboration Conscient Football and AIFF entered into a technical collaboration for 3 years in August 2011. The collaboration includes AIFF to provide technical expertise and endorse Conscient Football’s football development programmes. Conscient Football also allowed AIFF to use their ground facilities for National Team training purposes. Brands Coca-Cola Coca-Cola served as a beverage partner for both editions of CPFL and the Conscient Football Clinics. The partnership was activated through Coca-Cola branded umbrellas and the distribution of Kinley water and Minute Maid juices for players, coaches and sta . Max Healthcare Max Healthcare served as the medical and nutrition partner for both editions of CPFL and the Conscient Football Clinics. The medical organization activated the partnership by providing an ambulance and nurses on-site during weekend matches and training sessions. Nike Nike served as kit and equipment partner for the second edition of the CPFL. The apparel company provided Conscient Football with training gear for volunteer coaches and managers in addition to footballs to be used during the league. NGO My Angels Academy Conscient Football has a social quota in all of its initiatives. They have a long term association with My Angels Academy. It is a non-pro t football academy, located in the slums of Vikaspuri, New Delhi. 9 students from My Angles Academy were given roles of eld coordinators in the Conscient Football Premier League, which was a paid job. Conscient Football also keeps 10% of all spots in their initiatives like FCB Camps reserved for underprivileged children.


Grassroots football development is seen as critical to the long term development of the country. AIFF Technical Director Robert Baan and AIFF Director of Coach Education and Technical Director Academies Scott O’Donell identi ed the lack of a structured Grassroots program as the important piece missing in the football jigsaw in the country. What India needed was a structured program under the auspices of the AIFF and with a similar playing philosophy adopted across the country. With this in mind the AIFF launched the Grassroots Program which has now been adopted by 5 States in a short period of 9 months. The AIFF Grassroots program aims to provide playing opportunities to as many children as possible between the ages of 6-12 which helps in having a broader base at the bottom of the football pyramid. The Grassroots program acts as a starting point in the player development pathway. The top players from the Grassroots programs, after reaching the age of 12, will be identi ed by the States and, if seen as good enough, then will be inducted into the AIFF Academies. The AIFF aligns itself with the FIFA and AFC de nition of Grassroots which is ‘football for kids (boys and girls) between 6-12 years of age’. What we need is also a higher number of Grassroots Leaders (Grassroots coaches) trained in the AIFF Grassroots philosophy. To address the same, the AIFF has also planned to conduct a large number of AIFF Grassroots Leaders Courses across the country. AIFF Development Manager Suvrat Thatte opines that “State Football Associations, Schools, football clubs (amateur and professional), communities, NGOs, Corporate companies, Government Ministries of Sport and Education, other private entities investing in football properties form the core of the participating stakeholders in Grassroots Football. The basic idea is to encourage all the stakeholders to follow, implement and align with the AIFF Grassroots philosophy across the country through their initiatives. As we have seen already, many initiatives are being undertaken by various stakeholders and entities (both within the football hierarchy and private entities, schools setup and NGOs etc), however it might assume di erent directions with di erent objectives, di erent philosophies and di erent outcomes. There is a needX to integrate the e orts of all and align them with the AIFF’s Grassroots philosophy to achieve maximum success and results. We have many corporate companies investing in football already and some companies are showing a keen interest to get involved in football in the future, which is excellent and needs to be appreciated. However the interests of the corporate organisations as well as Indian football will be best served by aligning themselves with projects which are in line with the AIFF philosophy on Grassroots football. As the Federation’s objective is to streamline all activities in Grassroots under the AIFF umbrella, projects in line with the AIFF philosophy will do greater bene t to the game as a whole in India. What is most important is that football stakeholders work in harmony to give children an opportunity to play football and to explore the game, enjoy the game and be connected to the sport for a lifetime, whether as a player (amateur or professional), coach, administrator or a lifelong supporter of the game. This will help make football into one of the top participation sports in the country and create a wider playing base at the bottom of the football pyramid, which in the long run will provide better players playing in better competitions and eventually a better national team. Grassroots football is key to creating a sustainable and successful football eco-system.” Case study: Mizoram FA Grassroots Program An example of a proper implementation of the AIFF Grassroots philosophy is the Mizoram Football Association which undertook the AIFF Grassroots Program last year. The State FA undertook the rst Grassroots course last year in October which was also the rst FIFA Grassroots Course to be conducted in India. 30 participants involved in Grassroots football were trained under the course. Subsequently, Mizoram FA also conducted another Grassroots course in February, there are more than 60 trained Grassroots Leaders in Mizoram within a year.


Following that, the Mizoram FA started with the rst State FA-run Grassroots centre in December. Subsequently, the Grassroots centres have spread to all the districts of the State giving more than 2000 kids the opportunity to play football. In addition to the existing, Mizoram FA run GR centres, they are also in discussions with the AIFF to introduce a certi cation program wherein all the GR centres run by private entities (schools, clubs or community initiatives) will be run by a AIFF trained Grassroots Leader and will be certi ed by the Mizoram FA upon ful lment of certain criteria. This ensures that all Grassroots initiatives are in line with the Mizoram FA- AIFF Grassroots program. All other States who have undertaken the AIFF Grassroots program will be undertaking the similar process. Manipur and Goa have already initiated the same and Maharashtra will be doing the same soon.

Participants enjoying a kickabout at a GR centre in Mizoram (Image courtesy: AIFF Media)


Introduction nition/english/grass-roots http://grassroots. rst/footballdevelopment/grassroots/index.html http://grassroots. http://grassroots. http://grassroots. http://www. ts.html International Grassroots Developing Football in India – Arunava Chaudhuri Japan Australia les/building-australias-football-community-20121109.pdf a-national-football-development-plan Africa Grassroots Football in India ciencies.html http://www. fa/footballdevelopment/news/newsid=1696734/index.html National Federation http://www.the-ai .com/gerneral-body.htm www.the-ai .com/download-pdf.php?download_ le=1367219232.pdf http://www.the-ai .com/gr-introduction.htm http://www.the-ai .com/news-listing.htm?type=6 http://www.the-ai .com/news-listing.php?type=6&start=18 http://www. fa/footballdevelopment/news/newsid=1696734/index.html ve-indian-states-adopt-grassroots-plan.html http://www.the-ai .com/news-center-details.htm?id=229 http://www.the-ai .com/lakshya.htm State Association School www.the-ai .com/download-pdf.php?download_ le=1367219232.pdf Corporate http://headlinesindia.mapso

NGO Private Entities _magazine_2012?e=6507517/2714815 Conscient Football

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Mr. Kushal Das General Secretary, AIFF All India Football Federation, Football House, Sector 19, Phase 1, Dwarka, New Delhi: 110075. Telephone: 91-11-28041430/31/32/ 33 Fax: 91-11- 28041434,28041436

Sukhvinder Singh Managing Director C8/19 DLF Qutab Enclave, Phase I Gurgaon - 122022 India E: M: +91 9871720351 W:

Rajpal Singh Director and Head-Sports & Youth A airs, FICCI Federation House, Tansen Marg, C8 / 19, New Delhi- 110001 India E: rajpal.singh@, T: 011-23487400, 23765083 F: 011-23320714, 23721504 M: +91 9811046537 W: www.