Sports Min asks AIFF to submit plan to improve infrastructure

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Philem Dipak Singh

Doha, Jan 17 (PTI) In an apparent attempt to cash in onthe positive impact of the Asian Cup on Indian football, thesports ministry has asked the All India Football Federation(AIFF) to submit a detailed report on how training facilitiesin the country can be improved.

Sports ministry joint secretary Injeti Srinivas helddiscussions with national coach Bob Houghton, AIFF generalsecretary Kushal Das and chef de mission Subrata Dutta here.

"Sports ministry has shown keen interest to take Indianfootball forward by way of providing improved facilities inthe country. I think it is the right time as India is playingin the Asian Cup, the biggest football stage in thecontinent," Das told PTI.

"We had a very fruitful discussion with Mr Srinivas andthe ministry had asked us for a detailed report on how toimprove the facilities all over the country. I think till nowAIFF has never given a detailed plan to the ministry in thepast. We are giving the detailed report soon," he added.

Das said Srinivas visited some of stadiums here,including the magnificent Al Khalifa and Al Saad stadium,where India played their two matches, and the trainingfacilities, besides watching the action.

Asked if the federation is expecting any sort of helpfrom the government in constructing stadiums, Das said, "Thatwas not discussed. He had suggested some SAI facilities beingconverted into football specific training facilities.

"That is a very good proposal as we have very fewfootball specific facilities in the country. He also mootedthe idea of establishing football academies in differentregions of the country. Let us see what can be done," he said.

Srinivas will watch India''s match against South Koreatomorrow.

The sports ministry had offered financial help to theAIFF by bearing the air travel expenses of the Indian team''straining in Dubai and Barcelona in 2009.

It had also sanctioned Rs 10 crore for the nationalteam''s preparation ahead of the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.

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