AIFF’s financing has been cut by about 85% by the government
The Indian football team faces further challenges ahead. The federal government has cut football financing by more than half, which comes as a shock (i.e. by 85 percent ). The administration made the decision after describing the national team’s recent performances as “bad.”
As a result, according to a media organization, a senior AIFF official has reacted angrily to the latest development, lamenting the sport’s ‘differential treatment.’ “Despite the differential treatment by the government, the AIFF has not compromised on any activity for the senior and junior teams, both men and women. However, it is surprising that a mass sport like football gets less funding compared to other sports that are nowhere close in terms of participation numbers and competitiveness.”
The AIFF executives, according to the unversed, had requested funding at least three times within the sanctioned budget. The Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) were dissatisfied, much to their dismay. The AIFF’s demands were dismissed as irrelevant because the federation’s developmental effort was found insufficient in every way, exposing the incapacity of age-group teams to make an impact at the continental level and a ‘fragmented’ women’s football programme.
It’s worth noting that the money set aside for football are far less than those set aside for other major sports. In terms of total funding, athletics (INR 300 million), badminton, boxing, hockey, shooting (INR 240 million each), archery (INR 158.5 crore), and weightlifting (INR 110 million) are far ahead of football. Even sports like tennis and yachting are expected to receive more support than football in the current fiscal year, much to the astonishment of many.
The central government’s decision is a huge setback for the beautiful game, which has been growing in popularity in India. Efforts have been made over the years to popularise the game, but such a setback will be a major blow to Indian football. It will be fascinating to observe how some of India’s biggest football stars respond to the major event.