To promote football among school children, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday launched 'Football for All', an initiative by FIFA in Odisha in partnership with KIIT & KISS.
Under the initiative, over 43,000 footballs will be distributed to children in about 2000 schools. This is the first such programme of FIFA in India that aims at promoting football among school children, an official said.
Joining the programme on a virtual platform, Patnaik said that football is the most popular game and brings together people across the globe.
Hoping that these partnerships and initiatives will help football development in India, he said, "We are quite focused on football development, especially women's football. As a legacy of the World Cup, we will have good infrastructure and coaching programmes."
Saying that it's a proud moment for Odisha to be the host venue for the FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup, the Chief Minister said, "We have partnered with AIFF and FIFA to bring the best of football to the state. This World Cup will give a major boost towards development of football in the state."
Expressing happiness over the launch of the programme, he thanked FIFA for choosing Odisha for this programme and appreciated the role of Achyuta Samanta, founder of KIIT-KISS, for bringing this programme to Odisha.
Patnaik looked forward to future partnerships with FIFA for development of football in Odisha.
Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera said that under the vision of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Odisha is investing heavily in sports infrastructure. FIFA partnership will help promote football at school level, he added.
Founder of KIIT-KISS, Achyuta Samanta, said that the Chief Minister's vision has helped in development of an illustrious sports eco-system in Odisha. KIIT and KISs have been the logistics hub for this programme, he said.
Director of 'Football for Schools', FIFA, Fatimata Sow Sidibe, joining over the virtual platform, appreciated the role of Chief Minister and Odisha government for promotion of sports in Odisha.
Stating that football is a powerful platform to change society, she said, 'Football for All' is a FIFA vision to make football truly global. The programme will provide life skill support to children, she added.
On this occasion, the Sports Minister presented footballs to students of Unit-9 Girls' High School and Capital High School, Bhubaneswar.