AIFF nominated for AFC 'Developing Member Association of the Year' award in 2016
The All India Football Federation has been nominated for the AFC Annual Awards 2016, to be held on December 1, in Abu Dhabi. AIFF is one of the three federations competing for the award of ‘AFC Member Association of the Year’, having been nominated in the ‘Developing’ countries category, on the back of some impressive achievements in the last year.
AIFF President Praful Patel was on the stage when India hosted the AFC Annual Awards in New Delhi last year, but AIFF was not celebrating any award at the end of the night. With Indian football making some huge strides in development this year, such as hosting the U-16 AFC Championship, the BRICS Cup, the success of the Indian Super League and the I-League (Bengaluru FC making the AFC Cup Final), things are looking up for Indian Football.
FIFA has also voiced its appreciation of the preparations India has made for the U-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017, approving all the stadiums that are being developed or renovated. AFC has taken note, describing the nomination as :
The prestigious award is given to a Member Association in recognition of its professional administration and governance as well as its exceptional contribution to the development and promotion of the game at all levels within the country. This includes grassroots and youth development work, women's football development and social responsibility.
Recognising the diversity of MA’s in terms of facilities and resources and looking to ensure that more MAs will receive recognition for their efforts and achievements in developing football in their country, the AFC in 2013 introduced three winners for the Member Association of the Year Award.
India will be competing with the Football Association of Malaysia and the Vietnam Football Federation for the Developing Member Association of the Year award.
Infantino and Praful Patel positive about India’s footballing future
Speaking at the launch of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, FIFA President Gianni Infantino lauded the AIFF for its steps, saying “The work done by AIFF is impressive and it is not a coincidence that football is developing in India and the passion is growing year after year. Results won't be immediate but it will follow in coming years.”
“India is a passionate giant because I have been seeing the graph of development. The Mission Eleven Million which the AIFF is working on to indulge the youth is commendable.”
Similarly, Praful Patel is also optimistic about the impact of the U-17 FIFA World Cup, saying “The FIFA U-17 World Cup is a new chapter in the history of Indian football and we need to make sure that it is one of the best FIFA tournaments ever held in the World. The passion for football has the ability to take us forward from the U-17 World Cup and we need to capitalise on that.”