AIFF secures development path after U-17 FIFA Women’s World Cup


The All India Football Federation (AIFF) assured the female U-17 players starting their FIFA World Cup campaign on Tuesday that they would be given a development path beyond the global event.

AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey on Saturday assured the girls under 17, who will begin their FIFA World Cup campaign on October 11, that they will not be left in the wild after the global event and will instead be consumed by the development plans of the federation.

The AIFF technical committee canceled the Indian Arrows project for men last month. The women’s development program started last year. Earlier this year, the Indian Arrows girls made their Indian Women’s League (IWL) debut.

“The junior girls’ program that started last year will continue. We won’t cut the girls’ projects. We will try to revive some tournaments and introduce new ones. We understand the need to provide the girls with a good path once the U-17 World Championship is over. We will have a regular youth calendar and these girls will have the opportunity to play the IWL,” AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey told a news conference.

He also promised to close the pay gap between the men’s and women’s teams. “The difference in pay is very unfortunate. We will be talking to all stakeholders of the company, even the government if necessary, to make sure it is addressed.”

India will play in Group A against the US (Oct 11), Morocco (Oct 14) and Brazil (Oct 17) in Bhubaneswar. The top two qualify for the quarterfinals. It will be a huge challenge for the hosts.

“It’s no excuse, but we were hit hard by Covid. The tournament itself was delayed by two years, so the entire team had to be changed. Scouting was limited to only a few states. We feel like we missed several other talented girls because they couldn’t show up for trials because of Covid. (But) I can guarantee that our girls will play their hearts out.”

This is the seventh edition of the tournament. Spain is the holders, while North Korea has won the title twice.

Chaubey defended moving the Santosh Trophy knockouts to Saudi Arabia next year. To this end, the AIFF has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabia.

“It is an ambitious undertaking for someone who has only been in office for 40 days. I am grateful that my proposal has been accepted by the Saudi Football Federation. I think this will bring a lot of exposure to our young people. Santosh Trophy is a respected tournament, but has lost its luster over the past decade. With this move, I am sure that young people will be motivated to play Santosh Trophy. We plan to try this for three years, and then depending on the results, we’ll make a phone call,” he said.

According to the MoU, India and Saudi Arabia will host two three-country tournaments each year for under-17 and under-19 teams (currently for juniors).

“Each tournament you can play six matches. During the summers we keep it in India, preferably in the northeast or Bengaluru, and in the Indian winters it goes to the Gulf. From now on it will only be for the boys, but we will have it for girls soon too.” he said.




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