Next Step 2014 presentation by Suvrat Thatte from all India Football Federation (AIFF)
All India Football Federation
Grassroots Development Program
Overview of the program:
AIFF aligns itself with the FIFA definition of Grassroots
football: Football for kids (boys and girls) between 6-12 years
AIFF Grassroots Development Program started in December
Program is driven primarily through the State Football
Associations, but is inclusive of all stakeholders:
- Football clubs: amateur and professional
- NGOs and Community initiatives
Program has rapidly expanded, now spread to 6 States in India
in little over a year.
Mizoram, Manipur, Maharashtra, Goa, Chandigarh and Kerala
have adopted the GR program for the long term.
Some key achievements of the AIFF GR Program:
AIFF finished second in the Asian Football Confederation
(AFC) Annual Awards 2013 in the ‘Grassroots Member
Association of the year’ category
AIFF have now partnered with the Football Federation
of Australia through the Australian Sports Outreach
Program to further the Grassroots initiatives in India.
FIFA and AFC too have recognized AIFF’s efforts in GR
and extended significant support for the program.
Key features of Grassroots football:
FIFA defines Grassroots football as: “To allow access to
football to a child in his/her own environment.”
Attract young players to the sport, create a fun, safe and
positive environment for the child
Inclusive: football is for everyone, irrespective of skin color,
gender, ethnicity, nationality etc.
Grassroots football can be played anywhere and everywhere,
consists of small-sided games and age specific activities.
Development before winning: ensure developmental
objectives are met before winning.
Allows for flexible organization and with modest
Key topics to be discussed today:
Locate and establish the importance of Grassroots
football in an Indian context
Importance and benefits of a federated structure for
effective implementation of Grassroots programs.
Grassroots football: Position of GR within
Grassroots football forms the base of the football
A strong foundation provides for a strong football
Benefits all levels of the game.
Important to focus on Grassroots football as it has
visible football and societal benefits, both being
significant in a country like India.
Importance and benefits of a good Grassroots
program in an Indian context:
Football benefits of a good Grassroots program:
FIFA states the ‘golden age of learning is between 8-12 years of age.’
Increases participation in the sport; more children will have regular
access to football
Widens base of football pyramid, more participants playing regularly
will give a bigger and hopefully better talent pool.
Helps identify talent and guide them through pathway for elite
Allows young and eager coaches to get involved
Early introduction of children to football will help develop an affinity
and loyalty towards the game; can lead to long term involvement in
the game in various capacities.
Football is the best teacher, teaches the values of life.
Football has the power to change lives and make a significant
difference to people across the world; it’s important to harness that
power to achieve social change.
Excellent platform to inculcate good social values and skills in kids,
such as mutual respect, team-work etc
Personal development such as confidence building, free expression etc
Emphasizes the importance of healthy lifestyle early amongst kids,
through exercise and regular playing throughout the year.
Grassroots coaches can also introduce the importance of nutrition to
Structure of AIFF Grassroots
Structure of Grassroots Program of the AIFF:
AIFF GR program driven primarily through the State Associations under the
overall umbrella of the AIFF.
AIFF members: State Football Associations and Union Territory Football
Associations plus Services Sports Control Board and Railways Sports Board.
A Federated structure allows the AIFF to create and implement an
inclusive program in each State, together with the State Association, with
involvement of key stakeholders: football clubs, schools, NGO and
Currently 6 States have adopted the program full time, AIFF aims to
implement the GR programs in all States in the long term.
Full time personnel: Each project State has a State Development Officer
full time who works with the State Association closely to implement and
monitor the Grassroots program
Benefits of having a Federated Structure for Grassroots
Each State has different conditions and requirements with regard
to Grassroots football, objective is to be able to provide
solutions and plans accordingly.
Eg: Maharashtra and Mizoram, both existing AIFF GR projects
have populations of 110 million and 1 million respectively!
State Football Associations are best placed to understand and
address the needs of their state.
Easy accessibility and better connect with all key football
stakeholders within each State.
Better administration, Governance and monitoring of the
project, can address all aspects of GR effectively.
Through a unique concept of ‘GR centre certification program’,
school, clubs, NGOs etc currently running Grassroots programs
can get their centres certified and become part of mainstream
GR activities of the State Associations and AIFF.
All India Football Federation
State Football Association
District Football Association
Football Clubs (amateur
NGOs and community
It is vitally important that all stakeholders work
closely with the State Associations and the AIFF
to create a inclusive, sustainable and strong
Grassroots football structure.