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Grassroots absence is Indian football's biggest problem: Scott O'Donnell

FILE PHOTO: Scott O'Donnell (L)

FILE PHOTO: Scott O’Donnell (L)

Panaji - The biggest problem with Indian football is the virtual absence of grassroots programme from the age of six to twelve, according to Scott O’Donnell, who is in-charge of All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) youth development programme.

O’Donnell was speaking on Friday at the Goa India Football Table, an international football conference organised by the Goa Football Development Council (GFDC).

“The biggest thing missing in India’s football triangle is the base. There is no grassroots football in India,” O’Donnell said, adding that this was his personal opinion.

O’Donnell also said that while football clubs spent most of the money on players wages and the AIFF funding goes towards financing the I-League, India’s top football league.

That hardly leaves any funding or attention towards grassroots football where young talent can be spotted.

“For Indian football to develop, we must get more young boys and girls of the ages between six and 12 need to play football,” O’Donnell said.

The administrator also said that identifying footballers at the grassroots would only help create a talented pool.

“Starting off at a young age would help us to create a database of players at just the right age,” O’Donnell said. “India should have done this 20 years ago.”

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