As we all know, football in India is undergoing a massive transformation in its outlook. Many initiatives by various MNC’s, football clubs and sports boards are under progress. Many popular clubs in Europe are showing their interest in developing the current football situation in India. These are all positive signs, but are these initiatives enough to develop the football structure in the country? According to me all these are well and good for football in India but much more has to be done by AIFF and Sports Ministry in order to make Indian football popular. I am no one to criticise the AIFF or the sports ministry, but I think that much more work has to be done by these two regulatory bodies. It’s high time the Government also recognizes the importance of all other sports other than Cricket and initiates certain measures to promote all other sports and especially Football. Some of the changes and measures to be adopted as soon as possible in order to grow the popularity of Indian football are discussed below.
1. The Regulatory bodies such as AIFF and other State Associations should include former players and people with forward thinking and good management skills. People who have a good knowledge of the game and are available to work efficiently and effectively have to be appointed.
2. AIFF have to make it a point that all state football associations coordinate and work actively in order to develop the game. They should ensure that all these associations conduct at least one tournament for all age groups in their respective states. AIFF should also monitor the funds of the associations. They should also see to it that corruption in any form affecting Indian Football does not exist in any state.
3. AIFF should make it a compulsion for every state to have at least one very good stadium with all facilities which can help in the development of the players. They should also make it a point that these stadiums are used only for football and should not be leased for any other programmes . AIFF has to form a committee in order to see that all stadiums are properly maintained. Periodic inspections have to be carried out by this committee.
4. A television channel should be launched by the AIFF in order to broadcast various football tournaments and leagues throughout India. As we all know the professional football league in India, the I-League was also not broad casted properly until recently. An official television channel is thus a solution for this problem.
5. The Santosh Trophy is the only tournament conducted by AIFF for all state associations to participate in. This tournament is like Ranji Trophy in Cricket. This tourney has to be popularised and broadcasted. And it should be made compulsory for all state associations to send a team forward. It should be made compulsory for all teams to find a sponsor for their kits and expenses. This has to be done by the State Associations. The prize money should be increased and proper accommodation and food has to be given for all participating teams.
6. The I-League which is the professional league in India should undergo wholesale changes. The I-League organising committee should be made more effective. Creative and innovative ideas should be encouraged and implemented. The organising committee should approach all potential sponsors and arrange for funds needed for proper and un-interrupted organisation of the I-League. It should also call for a meeting of representatives from all clubs before the commencement of league and take note of all their problems.
7. AIFF has to form a Indian football promotion committee in order to publicize the game in India. Various campaigns which can promote and publicise the game in India has to be launched. Numerous tournaments at school, college and university levels should be increased. Every tournament such has Santosh trophy, federation cup and Durand cup should be popularized among the public through advertisements and posters. Once the popularity rises it will be easy to find sponsors and will also increase the spectators. Thus the popularity of Indian footballers also will increase in the country.
8. The jerseys and merchandise of Indian national team and I-League clubs should be available for sale in the local markets. And should be sold at lower prices so that average people can afford.