New Delhi: The coffers of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) seem to have unfortunately hit bare minimum with them having to turn to Sports Authority of India (SAI) director general Jiji Thomson hoping to secure more financial assistance from the sports ministry. They expect an appraisal from the sanctioned grant of 4 Crores.
“After a meeting with SAI officials Radhica Sreeraman and Roque Dias, we were hoping to secure at least 8 crores of government grant but were ultimately sanctioned 4 crore. The bare minimum that the AIFF requires for functioning efficiently. We require the money for paying the foreign coaches, trips abroad, etc,” lamented AIFF general secretary Kushal Das, while talking to media.
Sounding optimistic and hopeful Das also added, “We had met sports secretary PK Deb and he said that ministry will be happy to release the funds if the request comes through SAI.”
Besides an annual government grant, FIFA also sanction funds to the AIFF as cover for the development and operational costs of football academies. To this effect, the AIFF have asked the SAI for permission to use the SAI centres in Mumbai and Kolkata as Regional Academies.
“We had been approached by East Bengal, who wanted to run the club from SAI’s Kolkata Centre but we had to turn them down. If we allow one then clubs like Mohun Bagan and Mohameddan Sporting might also come up with requests. But we are open to helping out the football federation for the national academies,” enunciated Thomson.
"The Kolkata and Mumbai academies are running at Pailan World School and Frank Agnel School in Navi Mumbai respectively which are private partnership. We feel the future of the academies will be secure if we move to SAI centres,” Das was to stress, emphasising the importance of operating the academies for the development of football in India.