AFC spells out Chelsea’s role in Vision India

August 4th, 2008 - 4:43 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Chelsea
By Abhishek Roy
Hyderabad, Aug 4 (IANS) English football club Chelsea’s association with India will be a big step towards development of the sport in the country, says a top official of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Chelsea’s main work will be developing the sport at the grass root level in India through AFC’s Vision India’s programme. Football fans in India, though, have to wait till next year for Chelsea to land in India.

“Chelsea is one of our main sponsors and they have always supported us in developing the sport in Asia. For the time being they are only associated with the Vision China and if everything goes well then we may see them coming to India maybe by next year,” AFC general secretary Paul Mony Samuel told IANS.

Citing example of China, where Chelsea has been associated with the Vision China programme, Samuel was hopeful that Vision India would be equally successful.

“The Vision China project was launched in five provinces in the country and it has been so successful that now we are contemplating pulling out of two province,” he said.

The AFC general secretary said the Asian body does not have adequate money and expertise to conduct workshops for coaches and officials and that is the area where Chelsea will help in Vision India.

“If India needs to progress much work has to be done at the grassroot level. Do you think there are enough coaches in India? Chelsea will help in conducting workshops for the coaches and the others officials to spread the game,” he said.

Samuel also took a serious note of the growing interest of European clubs visiting India and said: “We can’t stop them from coming to India because it is business for them. But if they are making profit, they should also give back something to the country by helping the sport.”

“Chelsea are paid a huge amount for playing exhibition matches during the summmer tour in Asia. But they give us financial and technical assistance.”

Samuel also said that lack of good academies was a problem for India.

“Youth development is one of the most expensive investment for any organisation. And there is no guarantee that you will get good players from it. And for an academy, you need enough qualified coaches,” asks Samuel.

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