The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports distributed footballs among Members of Parliament to promote the Mission XI Million Programme for taking the game across India in the run up to the FIFA U-17 World Cup to be hosted in October.
"The FIFA U-17 World Cup is being organised in partnership with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and in order to create football culture Mission XI Million has been initiated that aims to take football to 11 million children across India through 15000 schools and mass contact programmes," Sports Minister Vijay Goel said in a statement.
"Various activities are being organised across all states to promote and popularise the three phase programme by organising workshops and festivals etc. He said the key idea of Mission XI Million is that every child should have the opportunity to play the world's most popular sport," he added.
Goel also urged the MPs to help in spreading the message by way of organising football tournaments at villages, block and district level.
"The Sports Authority of India can assist MPs in organising a programme if a SAI centre exists in their constituency. MPs can help in creation of Mini Clubs for local level games and competitions and by utilizing their MPLAD fund for New Sporting Hubs and festivals," he said.
"India had a successful BRICS U-17 Football Cup in 2016 and now the FIFA U-17 World Cup in October will ensure that the country becomes the bright spot in world football," he added.