New Delhi: All India Football Federation president Praful Patel on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi "highlighting" the FIFA U-17 World Cup, to be held in the country next year, is an encouraging sign.
"Only the other day, the Prime Minister of our country highlighted the FIFA U-17 World Cup as a major milestone for transforming football in India. It's so encouraging that the Government at the highest level also recognises the potential of the sport," Patel said.
Through his radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat', Modi called upon the youth to participate in the Under-17 World Cup. He said it is a great opportunity for branding the country at the international level, for which immense awareness needs to be created within the nation.
The PM appealed to the students to come up with suggestion to take the game of football to every village of this country.
Patel spoke while chairing AIFF's Special General Body Meeting here and made a mention about the potential of women's football in India.
"More emphasis is being paid on women's football in India. AIFF will leave no stone unturned for providing support for us to qualify for the AFC Women's Asian Cup.
"We had talks about a Women's League and we shall kick-off the Women's League sometime this year itself," he said.
Patel requested the state associations to "concentrate on development of the sport", urging all stakeholders to come on the same platform.
Meanwhile, Mizoram FA has been allotted an artificial turf under the FIFA Development Programme.
The committee unanimously approved the financial statement and audit report for 2014/15 which was adopted into the accounts of the AIFF.
The AIFF president mentioned about the challenges which lay ahead.
"There are challenges which we will face but we have definitely moved ahead. We are a large country with our own unique proposition but the AIFF over the years have always tried to strike a balance to give due representation, due regards to different regions and that's why we have gone step by step," said Patel.