New Delhi: Notwithstanding the popularity of the Indian Super League (ISL), Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director General Injeti Srinivas on Monday said that cash-rich events like these will never be able to replace the traditional football tournaments of the country.
Just into it's second season, ISL has been a threat to even the age-old I-League, but Srinivas is not too worried.
"Today, apart from a couple of events, there are very few domestic tournaments, especially at the junior level. Fine we have the ISL and others but they are fairly new and amateur and cannot replace the old tournaments," said Srinivas at the launch of the School Sports Promotion Foundation's (SSPF) National Talent Search and Nurture here.
Keen to improve the standard of junior football, Srinivas said that more age-group tournaments are in the pipeline.
"Some time back, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and SAI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a few objectives in mind including to increase the age group tournaments at the junior level, to establish them and introduce more competitions. For that the dialogue is on," he said.
"Then we have the Under-17 World Cup in 2017 (to be held in India) which will also help the development of the sport in the country."
Srinivas also informed that the government has, in principle, agreed to provide financial assistance of approximately 5 crore Rupees for the development of the sport at the junior level.
"Talent can only be spotted in tournaments and trials. So, the more number of tournaments the better," he said.