AIFF hosts Women's Football Strategy Workshop

New Delhi, June 21 (IANS): The All India Football Federation (AIFF) hosted the Women's Football Strategy Workshop, conducted by FIFA expert, Simon Toselli, as a part of the FIFA Women's Development Programme on Friday.

Members from state associations, IWL clubs, and guests from the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the United Nations, UNESCO, and UNICEF, along with AIFF Vice President N.A. Haris, AIFF Acting General Secretary M. Satyanaranan, AIFF Women's Committee Chairperson Valanka Alemao and Women's Committee members Shabana Rabbani, Madhurimaraje Chhatrapati, Chitra Gangadharan and Thongam Tababi Devi, attended the workshop to discuss various strategies and planning for the development of women’s football in India and formulate the Women's Football Strategy for the next five to six years.

“Whatever we try to do in women’s football, it should bring good results. And to achieve this, we need to focus more. To bring focus, we need to be more disciplined. Football has developed well in India in the last few years, especially in women’s football. Our President Kalyan Chaubey and the Acting Secretary General, M. Satyanarayan are working hard in this aspect. I am confident that women’s football can do much better at a faster pace,” said AIFF Vice President, NA Haris, said:

The objective of the Women's Football Strategy Workshop is to plan to advance Indian Women’s Football towards a consistent and reflective sporting fabric for the country and build a robust structure through maximum participation at the grassroots.

AIFF Acting General Secretary M. Satyanarayan said, "We had a very positive workshop and we're also happy to have representatives from the UN, UNICEF, and UNESCO here. It was a fruitful day with not just club and state representatives and other stakeholders, but referees as well. We've seen an upsurge in the number of girls playing football thanks to the Khelo India Leagues. This strategy comes at an appropriate time, there's nothing better than making a plan and working towards that.

It was a combined effort from all stakeholders who gathered to form a holistic approach towards football development to build a successful Women’s National Team. The ultimate goal is to qualify for the 11th edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2031 on merit.

"First of all, big congratulations to AIFF for putting this strategic workshop together. We've been collaborating for a few months and the aim was to organise this workshop to make the key stakeholders come. The main actors of football here in the Indian clubs are from different regions, from the states, and from league organizers. “

“We invited them to propose key strategic directions and pillars such as grassroots, youth development, competition, elite governance, and then to open the discussion and hear the reality, understand their feedback, and inputs, for us to consider and analyze to build the strategy. The workshop was dynamic, we had nice participation, and now we are working on the next step. It's going to be another job to analyze this session to integrate and finalize the strategy," said Simon Toselli, FIFA Women's Football Technical expert

“In women’s football, like in all walks of life, inclusivity is important. If everybody is involved in it, and the team is strong, then the sky's the limit. India is a great country; the beauty of India is its diversity. We have diversity with different languages, religions, cultures, and food. But what keeps us going is one heart and one love. It is the scouts we need to concentrate on.” said Valanka Alemao, the AIFF Executive Committee member and Chairperson of the AIFF Women’s Committee.

“It is often said that women’s football in India is better than men’s football. That can be said about lots of other disciplines as well. Hopefully, Indian football will enter the world circuit in the next decade. India is planning to host the Olympics in 2036. I hope Indian women’s football is ready by then so we can field a competitive team,” added Shiv Sharma, Deputy Director General, SAI


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