Govt school children to play football league, now

In a bid to instil sportsmanship among in students, the Directorate of Education has joined hands with the ‘School Football League’ being organised by an NGO.

The Directorate of Education (DoE) has urged Delhi government schools to participate in the event from August 19 to November 7, for which registration is free.

The online registration for school began on Monday. “The team selection for 128 schools each in under-17 and under-14 boys category, and 16 teams each in under-17 and under-14 girls category will be done by the NGO STAIRS,” said a DoE circular. The last date of registration is July 25.

STAIRS said the top 120 players in the championship will be given one-week training under high-level supervision.

The NGO said the idea is to boost the football culture at the grassroots. The event will follow the FIFA World Cup format. It will begin with league matches at over 10 venues across four zones in Delhi while the semi-final and final games will be played at the central venue.

The teams will first go through qualifier rounds. Over 4,000 street children are also being scanned for forming eight STAIRS zonal teams under both age categories.

Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar, who is also an officer on special duty in the Delhi Sports Department, said, “I really appreciate the idea of an event of such a scale that provides an opportunity for children to showcase their talent. Such sporting initiatives are much needed in our country as they not only help in the children’s overall personality development but they also act as a podium for talented players to pursue career in sports.”

One of the fundamental reasons Indian football not being able to make a mark in the international circuit is that the country is not able to produce skilled footballers from the grassroots, said Siddhartha Upadhyay, the founder of the NGO. “The fundamental objective is to create a holistic sporting environment for kids,” he said.

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