All India Football Federation today, Thursday, October 6, 2022, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF). While AIFF was represented by its President, Mr. Kalyan Chaubey and the Secretary General, Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, the Saudi Arabia FF had its President, Mr. Yasser Al-Mishal and the General Secretary, Mr. Ibrahim Al Kassim present on the occasion.
The agreement will allow a wide range of activations, including the provision of technological support, the organization and hosting of youth competitions for both men and women on a regular basis, as well as exchange of football and governance experts. Both federations also agreed to deeply study the possibility to stage the final stages of the National Football Championships (NFC) for the Santosh Trophy in Saudi Arabia next February 2023.
The idea is to host the knock out phase of Santosh Trophy in select cities of Saudi to encourage State level players to dream big and also to connect large Indian community in Saudi with Indian football and create a win-win situation for both the Federations.
The agreement comes as part of the efforts of SAFF and AIFF not only to enhance cooperation among key strategic partners in Asia, but also to offer the opportunity to consolidate stronger bonds through football and culture between the large Indian Communities based in Saudi Arabia and Indian football.
The SAFF President wished AIFF the best of success for the upcoming organization of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup as both delegations look forward to an action-oriented cooperation.
The AIFF president, Mr. Kalyan Chaubey said: “It is a remarkable development for Indian football. Our aim is to create a new platform for Indian football and spread it among the Indian fans all across the world. My sincere thank to SAFF for their active cooperation in realising our goal.”
The AIFF General Secretary Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran said: “It is an out of the box idea that I am sure will help Indian football to create a niche for itself among its loyal fans, who eagerly follow Indian football from wherever they are. Our aim is to take Indian football forward and explore all possibilities. This move, we are confident, will inspire players from across the nation to showcase their performance in front of bigger audience.”
Opinion: How illogical it is to play an internal football competition in foreign country. At home, the players at least get home support. Let me assume why – Alongside teams, the state & central FA 'Babu' officials get chance to roam Saudi giving the reason of "competition"
In the yearly portfolio report a statement can be printed, "We spent X amount on tour of X." Exposure tour for youth is acceptable. Instead of these expensive tour for Santosh Tr., why the same amt can't be awarded to state FAs & make them follow a roadmap of developing football?