Santosh Trophy 2022-23 knock-out stage set to be held in Saudi Arabia in February next year

By Shifting the Santosh Trophy knockouts to Saudi Arabia, the AIFF officials aim at involving the Indian community in Saudi Arabia with football and ensuring benefits for federations from both nations.

Press Trust of India October 06, 2022 22:57:37 IST
Santosh Trophy 2022-23 knock-out stage set to be held in Saudi Arabia in February next year

The AIFF have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SAFF. Image: Kalyan Chaubey/ Twitter

New Delhi: In an unprecedented move, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is planning to hold the knock-out stages of the Santosh Trophy National Championships in Saudi Arabia early next year.

AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey and Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with their Saudi Arabian counterparts to “study the possibility to stage the final stages of the Santosh Trophy” in the West Asian country in February 2023″.

“The idea is to host the knockout phase of Santosh Trophy in select cities of Saudi to encourage State level players to dream big and also to connect large Indian community in Saudi with Indian football and create a win-win situation for both the Federations,” the AIFF said in a release.

“The agreement comes as part of the efforts of SAFF and AIFF not only to enhance cooperation among key strategic partners in Asia but also to offer the opportunity to consolidate stronger bonds through football and culture between the large Indian Communities based in Saudi Arabia and Indian football.”

Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) President Yasser Al-Mishal and General Secretary Ibrahim Al Kassim signed the agreement from the side of the West Asian country. The agreement was signed in the Saudi Arabian city of Dammam.

“The agreement will allow a wide range of activations, including the provision of technological support, the organization, and hosting of youth competitions for both men and women on a regular basis, as well as exchange of football and governance experts.”

AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey said: It is a remarkable development for Indian football. Our aim is to create a new platform for Indian football and spread it among the Indian fans all across the world. My sincere thank to SAFF for their active cooperation in realising our goal.

AIFF General Secretary Shaji Prabhakaran said: It is an out-of-the-box idea that I am sure will help Indian football to create a niche for itself among its loyal fans, who eagerly follow Indian football from wherever they are.

“Our aim is to take Indian football forward and explore all possibilities. This move, we are confident, will inspire players from across the nation to showcase their performance in front of bigger audience.

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