The students of government-run schools in Uttar Pradesh will now get an opportunity to play football on a regular basis even if they do not have a proper playground for it.
To popularise and promote football in UP to make the FIFA U-17 World Cup to be held in India this October a success, a seminar ‘Mission XI Million’ was organised at the office of the secondary education department on Wednesday afternoon.
Project director, local organising committee, FIFA U-17 WC India 2017, Joy Bhattacharya, said principals and teachers of government schools were asked to include football in sport activities and help students develop love for this sport that teaches discipline and team spirit.
Director, UP secondary education, Aman Nath Verma said it was for the first time that the prestigious event was being organised in India and asked the principals to start encourage students to play football.
The genesis of introducing sports in schools goes back to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio programme broadcast in March 2016 where he had called for building an atmosphere for promotion of football in the country in the run up to the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
After the PM’s call, the sports department initiated steps to popularise football in the country. Several rounds of discussions have been held with FIFA, AIFF, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan and CBSE.
"We are looking forward to help 11 million Indian children embrace football through this mass movement. It is the most ambitious project undertaken to promote sports in the country ever,” Bhattacharya said.
The school programme will include workshops with school principals, physical education coaches, and short listing of winners for the football festival.
The director, secondary education, said efforts were on to develop the passion for football among students.