Nodar Akhalkatsi, Director, Strategic Projects & MA Governance, FIFA said that the FIFA-AFC delegation came to India to have dialogues with different stakeholders on the development and the way forward for Indian football.
He added that the delegation’s main reason to visit the country is to start the process of developing the strategic roadmap for Indian football which needs to be done by the end of this year.
“Our main objective is to focus on the strategic roadmap that needs to be done by the end of this year. We have gathered all the information and recommendations from various stakeholders and will analyse all the facts given to us to come to a conclusion. Our main reason to come here was to start the process of the development of the strategic road map," Akhalkatsi said.
“It is going to be a complex, yet comprehensive one. We know it is a long process with several milestones to be achieved. Our main area of focus is the professional sector in Indian Football which needs to be fulfilled. We are also having a deep look at grassroots development which we want to evaluate," he said.
“FIFA will support AIFF in the process ahead and we have observed there is willingness and readiness on both sides which is of utmost importance. We want to work together with all the contributions of the stakeholders involved."
On Friday, the delegation is set to meet Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Anurag Thakur and Secretary, Sports, MYAS.
In a series of meetings held since morning, the delegation made utmost efforts to gauge the practical problems the Indian football is facing and had discussions that evolved around the strategies to meet the challenges ahead and ways and means to overcome them.
Apart from Akhalkatsi, the delegation consists of Sarah Solemale, Senior MA Governance Service Manager, Allessandro Gramagila, Strategic Development Manager, and Sonam Jigmi, Senior Manager, South Asia, MA Division, AFC.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran remained engaged in all the meetings organised for the FIFA-AFC delegation.
The delegation’s long day started with a meeting with the representatives of FSDL, the marketing partners of the AIFF, followed by extensive discussions with members of some of the ISL and I-League clubs.
Once having gone through the various aspects and problems of club football, the delegation then sat down with the national head coach Igor Stimac and had an extensive conversation with the Croatian.
The AIFF Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran said, “There are a lot of opportunities laced with challenges ahead but we are working together with FIFA, AFC, our domestic partners, the stakeholders and the Government of India to build a roadmap which will serve for the betterment of Indian Football. Once the roadmap is ready, it will reflect on our work.
“We want something on the pitch, which includes realistic goals and achievable objectives. We are collaborating with institutions as well as individuals, who can help us with the overall growth. Success will be defined when we work together. I believe in thinking out of the box and if there is a wil" there is always a way."