Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: In an effort to promote grassroots football across the country, the All India Football Federation (AIFF),on Saturday organised a webinar for representatives from the Cerebral Palsy Sports Federation of India (CPSFI) as well as members from the International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football (IFCPF) .
“It is a milestone event, and the AIFF deserves kudos for organising it” said CPSFI president Rajesh Tomar adding “sports is a way of life and we in collaboration with AIFF are going to make a concerted planning to get younger people suffering from Cerebral Palsy to get involved in sports”
Besides Rajesh Tomar, others who participated in the webinar were, Ms. Kavita Suresh, CEO, CPFSI; . Sam Turner, CEO, Secretary-General, IFCPF; . Tom Langen, Technical Director, IFCPF; . Craig Carscadden, Chief Executive, CPISRA and . Chokey Nima, FIFA Regional Technical Consultant, South Asia.
Representatives from Cerebral Palsy Sports Federations from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka also joined the webinar.
“The AIFF has been very kind to support us through the movement. In the journey, I reached out to Mr. Kushal Das (General Secretary, AIFF) and since then, we have met quite a few times. CPSFI is working closely with the AIFF, who have already assured us all sorts of technical support including logistics, coaching, training, equipment etc,” Tomar said.
“There are over 2.5 million people in India who are suffering from cerebral palsy and among them the youngsters need a way out and only Sports can be that option because it is a way of life and also provides a sense pf dignity and purpose ” he added
He said in 2018 world Cerebral Palsy Games in Spain India had won two Gold medals. “this shows that our sportspersons despite severe handicaps have in them drive and determination . We want government and Sports Ministry to help.’
Ms. Swati Kothari, General Manager, AIFF, praised CPSFI for taking up the initiative as well. “It is a nice initiative from grassroots as well as the developmental perspective. AIFF will be happy to work alongside CPSFI in order to promote grassroots football among those kids and move forward together,” she stated.
“The intention to promote grassroots football amongst the less privileged kids is our priority. It falls under the domain of the AIFF and FIFA. We will work towards achieving the target. It’s wonderful to be a part of this project.” opined Nima.