NEW DELHI: Parliamentarians cutting across party lines participated with enthusiasm in the mass awareness Programme for promoting sports culture as Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan presented them footballs on Wednesday.
The function organized by the ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports was meant to promote Mission XI Million Programme for taking football across India in the run up to FIFA U-17 Football World Cup to be hosted in October this year.
Union sports minister Vijay Goel urged the MPs to help in spreading the message by way of organising football tournaments at villages, block and district level. “Sports Authority of India can assist MPs in organising a programme if a SAI centre exists in their constituency. MPs can help in creation of mini clubs for local level games and competitions and by utilizing their MPLAD fund for new sporting hubs and festivals,” said the minister.
The FIFA U-17 World Cup is being organised in partnership with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and in order to create football culture in the country, union sports ministry has initiated Mission 11 Million which aims to take football to 11 million children across India through 15000 schools and mass contact programmes.
Goel said that various activities are being organised across all states to promote and popularise the three phase programme by organising workshops and festivals etc. He said the key idea of Mission XI Million is that every child should have the opportunity to play the world’s most popular sport.
Referring to the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat on 26th March 2017, Sports Minister said, “Our Prime Minister has described the FIFA under 17 World Cup as a great opportunity for youth that can start a revolution in sports throughout the country. The PM has mentioned that whole of this year there should be an atmosphere of football in the schools and colleges all around India.”
Officials said that India had a successful BRICS U-17 Football Cup in 2016 and now the FIFA U-17 World Cup in October this year will ensure that the country becomes the bright spot in world football. They said that the ministry will continue to promote the game across schools and other institutions and help create sports culture in the country.