Against all odds, a bunch of 18 under-14 girls from Ranchi won the bronze at the Gasteiz Cup in Spain, July 13. The tribal girls were representing Yuwa India, an NGO founded by a 30-year-old American Franz Gastler.
They girls were reportedly humiliated, slapped and made to sweep floors when they went to the panchayat office to get birth certificates for their passports.
AIFF president Prafel Patel said that the federation's women's committee headed by Sara Pilot, wife of Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot, met on Thursday to discuss the issue and also make plans to help the girls from Jharkhand and also tap talent in tribal areas.
Sara Pilot is also a known social worker and her NGO, CEQUIN (Centre for Equality and Inclusion), works for the upliftment of women.
"Our women's committee have already met and we are working on a plan to help the girls and tap talent in tribal areas," said Patel, who is also the Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
Patel said that the AIFF should not be blamed for the ordeals of the girls because they never approached the federation for help and the tournament was also not approved by it.
"It was a malicious campaign against the AIFF and it's totally baseless to bring the AIFF into this. The tournament the girls participated was not approved by us nor we knew about their participation," Patel said.