Sports Ministry asks AIFF to submit plan to improve infrastructure

Sports ministry joint secretary Injeti Srinivas held discussions with national coach Bob Houghton, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das and chef de mission Subrata Dutta here.
"Sports ministry has shown keen interest to take Indian football forward by way of providing improved facilities in the country. I think it is the right time as India is playing in the Asian Cup, the biggest football stage in the continent," Das told PTI.

"We had a very fruitful discussion with Mr Srinivas and the ministry had asked us for a detailed report on how to improve the facilities all over the country. I think till now AIFF has never given a detailed plan to the ministry in the past. We are giving the detailed report soon," he added.

Das said Srinivas visited some of stadiums here, including the magnificent Al Khalifa and Al Saad stadium, where India played their two matches, and the training facilities, besides watching the action.

Asked if the federation is expecting any sort of help from the government in constructing stadiums, Das said, "That was not discussed. He had suggested some SAI facilities being converted into football specific training facilities.

"That is a very good proposal as we have very few football specific facilities in the country. He also mooted the idea of establishing football academies in different regions of the country. Let us see what can be done," he said.

Srinivas will watch India's match against South Korea tomorrow.
The sports ministry had offered financial help to the AIFF by bearing the air travel expenses of the Indian team's training in Dubai and Barcelona in 2009.

It had also sanctioned Rs 10 crore for the national team's preparation ahead of the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.

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