AIFF seeks shift in focus from state to city in Vision Asia

Updated: Apr 12, 2011, 17:15 PM IST

New Delhi: With its state units failing to ring in changes in their statues for years, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has decided to start afresh the Vision Asia-India Programme with a change in strategy, where the focus will be on the cities instead of states.

Vision Asia Programme, under the aegis of the AFC, was launched in 2004 in India and China. Manipur and Delhi were the first two Indian states where the programme was launched.

While the programme in Manipur is going strong with even the AFC praising the success in the small northeastern state, the project in Delhi was scrapped last year after six years of inaction by the state association.

Two more projects in Goa and West Bengal have become inactive as they failed to meet the AFC criteria for the programme. Another project in Kerala has yet to take the next step after adopting the recommended statutes.

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das told PTI that Vision India now need a revival by change in focus from state-centric to district or city-centric, a strategy which has seen success in China.

"Vision India programme could not be started in the states except for Manipur, as they failed to change their constitution which was a must for the AFC to give a go-ahead," Das said.

"One reason or the other the states where Vision India were to start they even fail to change their statute. Vision India programmes in Delhi and Tamil Nadu were scrapped because of that. West Bengal and Goa have also remained stuck," he said.

He, however, said that the shift in strategy will be possible only if the AFC clears it.

"We have decided for a change in strategy so as to revive Vision India. Now, instead of state-focused programme, we are looking at a programme which fcuses on a district or a city. That way we can have smaller units to implement the Vision Asia Programme," said Das.

"We have submitted a plan to the AFC with the shift in strategy. We want changes in the programme though I can`t tell what are they now as it will all depend on AFC to agree to our proposal or not," he said.

The proposal, prepared by the AIFF, would emphasise on area-specific strategy rather than a uniform format for India as the country has diverse cultures and hence different requirements for grassroot development. The AIFF felt that way it would give sustainability to the programme.

AFC Vision Asia director, Michelle Chai, said has already described the AIFF`s decision to review the status of the Vision India projects and propose change to the strategy as positive moves.

"Focusing on the cities is not new. In China where the demographics and geography is similar to India, we have worked at city level, bypassing the provinces as each province is quite large in area and huge in terms of population. We have shown in China, focusing on the cities, though they are not direct members of the national association, can also work," she said.

Chai, who is also the AFC assistant secretary, feels that the AFC and the relevant national and project associations need to look at ways to revive their dormant projects.

"This can be done either by revamping the entire strategic development plan or in some cases, by looking at other creative ways to overcome a particular challenge."