CM grants five crore for football development

“Knowing Praful Patel who would receive in one hand and give much more off the other, the State Government will give Rs five crore for upgrading the stadium and for football development,” said Yeddyurappa at the function to lay the foundation stone for FIFA Goal Project II.

Earlier, Patel had urged Yeddyurappa to grant at least Rs 10-15 crore for upgrading the stadium and development of football after  thanking the State Government for granting land to Karnataka State Football Association in the 1970s.
“Because of their gesture, KSFA is the only State Association in the country who have a stadium of their own,” Patel said. “Even Kolkata -- considered the epicentre of football -- or Mumbai and Goa do not have one, despite the popularity there.
“However, I request the State Government to contribute Rs 10-15 crore for upgrading the facilities and grant land in Mangalore and Mysore for setting up new ones.”
Patel said a good package was necessary to take any sport to the next level.
“Football in India suffers from the chicken and egg conundrum.

“Do we need to first set-up the infrastructure or improve the quality?” he questioned before replying “I honestly believe both go hand-in-hand and academies of this sort will play a big role.”

Academy project kicks off
All India Football Federation President Praful Patel on Wednesday presided over the foundation stone laying ceremony for the FIFA International football academy at the Bangalore Football stadium, hoping the facility would usher Indian football into a new phase.

“I sincerely hope this initiative taken up by FIFA, AIFF and Karnataka State Football Association improves football in the country,” said Patel after Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa laid the foundation stone. “The Academy is part of FIFA Goal Project II that identified two places in India -- Sikkim and Bangalore -- to set up training facilities in order to groom and nurture the future footballing talent,” he said.

The ambitious project will come up at the southern wing of the stadium with facilities including a modern gymnasium, auditorium and a mini-hospital which will be named after late Dempo striker Cristiano Junior, who died after an on-field collision at the Sree Kanteerava stadium in 2004.  “Initially the academy in Bangalore will accommodate 40 players in the under-15 age category who will be trained until 19 years of age. Steps will be taken to expand the facility to 60 trainees or more as time progresses.
“The trainees will be selected from various tournaments held across India. With Sikkim Academy heading in the right direction and another facility coming up in tsunami-struck Andaman, I can say a beginning has been made to take Indian football to the next level,” added the Union Civil Aviation Minister.

The Academy, which will be completed in a year’s time, is being built at a cost of Rs 3.5 crore. While the KSFA has contributed Rs one crore, the remaining will be shared between FIFA and AIFF and managed by all three bodies. FIFA’s total contribution towards Sikkim and Bangalore is $800,000.

“Karnataka was once the heart of Indian football but a ban on recruitments by public sector companies -- who played a major role -- has hit the sport a lot. I hope this academy changes the face of football,” said KSFA President AR Khaleel at a function also attended by AIFF General Secretary Alberto Colaco.

A FIFA-delegation had visited the stadium on September 17 as part of the project to lay an artificial turf. “Yes, the turf will come up very soon. With a fresh turf and upgraded facilities, I am sure the stadium can host international matches,” Colaco said.
Meanwhile, Khaleel presented Yeddyurappa a cheque of Rs one lakh on behalf of KSFA towards flood relief fund.

Lack of facilities a shame: Patel
Praful Patel on Wednesday said it was shameful that India lacked world-class facilities, forcing the national football team to go to Dubai and Barcelona for training.
“It is shameful that we lack world-class facilites because of which we had to send the national team to Dubai and Barcelona. Hopefully, the academies here and in Sikkim will solve that problem,” Patel said.

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