The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has taken significant steps to improve grassroots football in India. The organization has announced that it will hold its own National Grassroots Football Day on June 23, and has also created the Blue Cubs Programme to develop young players. These initiatives are part of the Vision 2047 Strategic Plan to strengthen the grassroots football structure in the country.
The National Grassroots Football Day will be celebrated on the birthday of the Indian football legend PK Banerjee, born in 1936. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) marks its Grassroots Football Day on May 15th every year, and 2023 will be the 10th anniversary of the event. Grassroots football, according to the AFC definition, encompasses all football that is non-professional and non-elite, including children’s football, school or youth football, amateur football, football for disabled players, and even football for veterans.
Grassroots football, which fosters community spirit and promotes physical and mental well-being, forms the foundation of the football pyramid. It plays a crucial role in shaping the future of the sport and has a significant impact on individuals, communities, and society as a whole. The AIFF has put together a report on its website detailing the importance of grassroots football.
A strong grassroots structure is essential for taking football to every corner of India and seeding a football culture resulting in multidimensional impacts on various aspects of football in India. The AIFF’s Blue Cubs Programme focuses on developing young footballers at the grassroots level by emphasizing key aspects such as skill development, talent identification, coach education, and providing a structured pathway for both regular and elite players at various developmental stages.