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India’s first FIFA-sponsored ‘Football for All’ initiative in Odisha

In pursuant to the state government’s commitment to promoting sports, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, on Monday, launched the ‘Football for All’ initiative in Odisha to take the culture of football to the grassroots.

SNS | New Delhi |

Over 43,000 footballs will be distributed to children in about 2000 schools. This is the first such programme of FIFA in India that aims at promoting football among school children, a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.

The programme has been initiated by FIFA (an international governing body of association football) in Odisha in partnership with KIIT & KISS.

It may be noted here the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup will kick off from Tuesday at Kalinga stadium of Bhubaneswar. The stadium will host five Group A matches, in which four countries – India, the US, Morocco and Brazil – will be facing each other, and one Group B match between Nigeria and Chile.

“Football is the most popular game and brings together people across the globe.  The partnerships and initiatives will help football development in our country. We are quite focused on football development, especially women’s football. As a legacy of the World Cup, we will have good infrastructure and coaching programs”, Patnaik said while joining the programme on virtual platform

“It’s a proud moment for Odisha to be the host venue for the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup. We have partnered with AIFF and FIFA to bring the best of football to the State. This World Cup will give a major boost towards development of football in the State”, he emphasized.

We will look forward to future partnerships with FIFA for development of football in Odisha, he added.

Under the visionary leadership of Patnaik, the state is investing heavily in sports infra. The FIFA partnership will help promote football at school level, Sports Minister Shri Tusharkanti Behera said.

The CM’s vision has helped in development of an illustrious sports eco-system in Odisha. KIIT and KISs has been the logistics hub for this programme, MP and Founder of KIIT & KISS Dr Achyuta Samant said

“Football is a powerful platform to change society. ‘Football for All’ is a FIFA vision to make football truly global. The programme will provide life skill support to children”, Director of ‘Football For Schools’, FIFA, Ms Fatimata Sow Sidbe said., she added. She also thanked KIIT for the support.

Sports Minister Behera presented footballs to students of Unit-9 girls High School and Capital High School Bhubaneswar in presence of Chief Minister Patnaik.

Chief Secretary Suresh Mohapatra, Secretary to CM (5T) VK Pandian and other senior officers were present.

School & Mass Secretary Aswathy S gave the welcome address and Commissioner-cum-Secretary Sports Vineel Krishna offered the vote of thanks.