Bengaluru, Sept. 20: Arijana Demirovic, FIFA's Head Women's Football Development, visited India ahead of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2022 - scheduled to held from October 11th to 30th - and was pleased with the initiatives undertaken by the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the tournament in collaboration with FIFA and the respective stakeholders to accelerate the growth of women's football in the nation.
Arijana visited India between September 16th and 19th, interacting with candidates from the LOC legacy initiative, Coach Education Scholarship Programme and engaging with children visiting the Kick Off The Dream Football Carnivals in Navi Mumbai and Bhubaneswar.
She also spoke with the inaugural batch of LOC's Referee Education Scholarship Programme participants, where Secretary General of AIFF, Dr Shaji Prabhakaran was also present to motivate the participants.
"It is imperative that the development of football be encompassing. The FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2022TM is already encouraging female participation at the grassroots through its legacy initiative, the Coach Education Scholarship Programme, and the Referee Education Scholarship Programme is another key step towards equal representation.
"As women's football is developing the world over in terms of viewership at the elite level and participation at the grassroots, it is only natural for the next step to be an increased number of female referees as well as coaches. We are, thus, very pleased with these initiatives and believe they will leave a positive footprint in the ecosystem of Indian football," said Arijana Demirovic on the legacy initiatives undertaken by the LOC in collaboration with FIFA and the respective stakeholders.
The Bhubaneswar edition of Coach Education Scholarship Programme, the fifteenth course, kicked off on Sept 18th with 24 aspiring coaches and it will conclude on September 22.
Thus far, more than 350 women have graduated the various editions of the Coach Education Scholarship Programme, accoutered with leadership qualities and skills in both, practical and theoretical aspects of football coaching. These officially certified coaches are playing a crucial role in increasing female participation at the grassroots by encouraging more girls in their local communities to start playing football under their tutelage.
Arijana further met with the Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Sports & Youth Services Department, Government of Odisha, Shri Vineel Krishna and relevant stakeholders to discuss legacy initiatives including the Kick Off The Dream Football Carnival.
This carnival, having started with its first phase in April, is slated to engage approximately 70,000 children in fun football-themed games and activities, leveraging the power of football to normalize equal participation from a young age.
While the carnival concluded in Navi Mumbai on Sept. 18th, a special 35-Day edition of the same is underway across different parts of Odisha. Goa, the third host city for India's first-ever FIFA women's competition, will host the carnival in the coming days.
Source: Media Releas