Pic Credit: Sky Sports

Odisha Set to Host FIFA Talent Development Scheme as Arsene Wenger Graces Inauguration of AIFF’s Football Academy

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The All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) is set to establish a world-class football academy in Odisha, with the inauguration scheduled for November 21. The chief of global football development of FIFA, Arsene Wenger, will be present for the inauguration of the facility, which will operate under the FIFA Talent Development Scheme.

The announcement was made by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who expressed his commitment to supporting the growth of football in the country. Bhubaneswar has been chosen as the location for India’s first AIFF-FIFA talent academy, emphasizing the state government’s dedication to providing top-notch facilities for football development.

“Glad to share that FIFAcom has chosen Bhubaneswar to set up India’s first AIFF-FIFA Talent Academy to nurture football talents in the country. Odisha Govt is committed to provide all support for growth of the sport and we are working in close partnership with IndianFootball to create the best facilities for our football players”, the chief minister posted on social media platform X.

Secretary of Sports and Youth Services department R Vineel Krishna revealed that the infrastructure for the academy is ready, and Wenger’s visit will be an opportune moment for the inauguration. During the visit, the state government is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with FIFA for the academy, marking a crucial step in the collaboration.

Around 40 to 50 football talents have already been selected for training in the academy, showcasing the commitment to identifying and nurturing the best talents in the country. Bhubaneswar, with its six FIFA-certified football grounds, is well-prepared to host this prestigious academy.

Krishna highlighted the close partnership between the state government and AIFF, ensuring that the best facilities are provided for the players. The government aims to offer infrastructure support and address the players’ requirements within the academy.

The FIFA Talent Development Scheme focuses on collaborating with member associations worldwide to enhance the competitiveness of their national teams. As part of this initiative, FIFA has introduced a talent coaching program, aiming to provide active on-ground support to member associations.

AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey expressed confidence in Wenger’s visit, stating that the former Arsenal manager’s vast experience and understanding would contribute significantly to turning the academy into a world-class facility. Wenger is scheduled to be in India from November 19 to 23, during which he and his team will engage with Indian Super League (ISL), I-League clubs, and individuals involved in youth development in Indian football.

This inauguration marks a crucial milestone in the development of football in India, signaling the nation’s commitment to providing top-tier facilities and coaching for aspiring football talents. With the backing of FIFA and the expertise of Arsene Wenger, the AIFF’s football academy in Odisha is poised to become a hub for nurturing and developing the future stars of Indian football.

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