Kolkata: The West Bengal Government today launched its lone residential football academy, first-ever done by any state, to promote young local talents.
"No other state government or the Centre has taken any such initiative so far, but we have done it under the strong leadership of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee," state`s Sports minister Madan Mitra said after announcing the launch of the `Bengal Football Academy` here today.
The announcement was made amid the presence of country`s yesteryear legendary footballers like P K Banerjee, Chuni Goswami, Arun Ghosh, Naimuddin, Subhash Bhowmik, Subrata Bhattacharya, Crompton Dutta and Samaresh Dutta besides the Academy`s Technical Director Goutam Sarkar.
Mitra said that the Academy would be a residential one for which forty talents in the age group of 13 to 15 years have already been shortlisted for five years training period in the first batch at its stadium at Khardaha.
Sponsored by the West Bengal State Council of Sports, the Academy would formally be inaugurated by the state Finance and Industry Minister Amit Mitra on June 8 at Khardaha in the presence of 100 luminaries of Indian football.
Even as there is a budgetary allocation of Rs one crore for the purpose, the allocation could be revised if required, the sports minister said.
The state government also has a plan to modernise its training stadium at Khardaha at an expense of Rs 10 crore with the inclusion of a swimming pool, athletic track, state-of-the art gymnasium and a guest house, Mitra said.
He also announced that the state government has decided to set up 100 giant screens in and around the city ahead of the soccer World Cup in Brazil to satisfy football enthusiasts here.
"Before each World Cup match on the giant screens, a short film on Bengal Football Academy would be shown," Mitra said.