The All India Football Federation (AIFF) will set up academies in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore by March 31, 2012, it was announced here on Friday. One in Sikkim, being funded by a Fifa Goal Project, is also on the cards.
This first serious long-term initiative at youth development will cost $1 million (R 4.61 crore) annually. The AIFF and Fifa will share the funding, said a source in AIFF, adding that independent sponsors too are being looked at. Refusing to divulge who's paying how much, Kushal Das, general secretary of the AIFF, said: "The amount is well within the AIFF budget."
Chandigarh, Chennai and a venue in Kerala will be the beneficiaries of the second phase in 2013. The Goa Technical Centre, currently used as training centre for the U-16 and U-19 national teams, will continue for the time being but once the other academies are in place, it could also be converted into a academy.
The scouting process will follow Fifa guidelines and academies will have 30-35 players in the 13-14 age-group for two years. Players from the 15-16 age group will be selected for the elite academy, the location for which is yet to be decided. At 18, they can move to the clubs.