Sunday 30 October 2022, 15:15

25 million children to benefit as FIFA launches Football for Schools in India

  • The Ministry of Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, All India Football Federation and FIFA commit to rolling out the programme as MoU is signed

  • FIFA’s flagship educational programme will launch in schools across India

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino was guest of honour at the signing ceremony in Navi Mumbai

On behalf of FIFA, President Gianni Infantino has co-signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship of the Republic of India, and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to launch Football for Schools across India, with the goal of reaching 25 million schoolchildren throughout the country. The MoU was signed as FIFA, the AIFF, fans, players and officials joined together in Navi Mumbai on the day of the final of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022™, which concluded after 22 successful days of football played across three host cities – with 16 nations from across the world competing for the title of world champions. At the event, representing the local government and football authorities, the three-party MoU also included the signatures of India’s Minister of Education, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, and Kalyan Chaubey – President of the AIFF.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the FIFA President said: “This is a partnership between the government, the education system, the football federation and FIFA – it is a partnership of course to work for the most talented players; to give every talent of India a chance to become a world star – but also, more than that, to try to make every Indian girl and boy benefit from the values of football.” In launching Football for Schools across India, the three parties agreed to work together to harness the fundamental importance of education, using the power and universal appeal of football as a positive tool to engage, enthuse, inspire, and develop children through physical education; to develop life skills, to deliver active and healthy citizens and to promote gender equality; to promote peace, unity and social integration.

Mr Infantino continued: “Football for Schools is not just a programme that is teaching children how to play football, it is much more than that – it is a programme that wants to give lessons for life, through the values of football. “India has passion. India has joy. India has skills – and we need to transform this passion, this joy, these skills and bring them into football and make India a true leader of global football. We want that to happen, we will make it happen, we will work together to make this happen and as I said, we are here to stay, to be part of your team and to develop and boost football together.” Also speaking at the ceremony in, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, said: “We are taking a very important step today, with the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding – more than 25 million children will benefit from this Football for Schools programme, and I look forward to welcoming you all back to India, where we will visit a school together and see the reality of this programme.”

Football for Schools is not just a programme that is teaching children how to play football, it is much more than that – it is a programme that wants to give lessons for life, through the values of football.

FIFA President - Gianni Infantino

President Chaubey of the AIFF added his own words of gratitude to FIFA and President Infantino. He said: “The All India Football Federation is very happy and hopeful that under your leadership, Indian football will go ahead for development in many area. I thank you and welcome that, with your support and guidance, Indian football will definitely move forward.” Other senior officials also in attendance at the ceremony were FIFA Football for Schools Director, Fatimata Sow Sidibe, FIFA Council Members Johanna Wood and Ramón Jesurún, Shri Vinayak Garg, Commissioner for Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, AIFF Secretary General Shri Shaji Prabhakaran, Minister for School Education, Government of Maharashtra, Shri Deepak Vasant Kesarkar and the Minister for Higher and Technical Education, Government of Maharashtra, Shri Chandrakant Patil. Football for Schools is an ambitious programme which aims to contribute to the education, development and empowerment of millions of children worldwide. It seeks to make football more accessible to both boys and girls around the world by incorporating football activities into the education system, in partnership with relevant authorities and stakeholders. The programme has been designed to promote targeted life skills and competencies through football and contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and other priorities.