It takes a Prime Ministerial push to promote Football in a Cricketing Nation

Football in India

While the sporty Sarvanand Sonowal took to the Chief Ministership of Assam with much aplomb, giving the charge of Sports Ministry to the PMO’s Man Friday, Dr. Jitendra Singh, it took the Prime Minister to gear up the cricketing nation towards the fascination of football.

In his ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme on March 27, the Prime Minister had called upon for building of an atmosphere and fervor of football in the country as a run up to the FIFA U-17 World Cup which is going to be held in India in October 2017 for the the first time.

In a letter sent to all Chief Secretaries of states and Union Territories, Secretary, Department of Sports Rajiv Yadav has urged them to take necessary steps to popularise and promote football in their region by including the game in various programmes.

Interestingly, the communication admits that it was only after the call of the Prime Minister, the Department of Sports has initiated a series of steps to popularise football throughout the country.
Several rounds of discussion have been held with FIFA, AIFF, KVS, CBSE, Subroto Mukerjee Sports Education Society and other stake-holders to firm up appropriate programmes.  ‘Mission 11 Million’ programme has been formulated and will be launched in coordination with FIFA in about 30 cities across the country which shall engage more than 11 million children in activities relating to football.


A greater need to diversify the sporting climate of the country has had been felt for a long time which has been almost monopolized by the cricketing mania. This would call for the pro-active role of the Sports Ministry, which the aforesaid report suggests was simply waiting for the Prime Ministerial injunction. Leadership at the Ministerial and Bureaucratic level is a must to handle the complex and widespread affairs of this vast nation.

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