PM urges nation to support U-17 football World Cup
New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged the nation to support the efforts to host a successful U-17 football World Cup later this year.
In a statement, the PM spoke about how the competition can spark a monumental change in the country.
“India is going to host the U-17 World Cup in 2017, but successful hosting of the event alone cannot be our final objective. U-17 World Cup India 2017 must be a catalyst for change, the tipping point for football in the country, which can only be done by creating a mass movement around it. The objective is to give an opportunity to every child in the country to play football.”
A legacy programme of the U-17 World Cup, “Mission XI Million” a school contact initiative, has been launched leading up to the mega tournament in October.
The initiative is India’s outreach to popularise football in the country while leaving a lasting legacy of the tournament.
The PM also spoke about the outreach programme in his Mann Ki Baat on March 27 last year, calling it a “mass movement”.
“Mission XI Million will take the beautiful game of football to at least 11 million boys and girls around the country. Children in every state, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Kutch to Kanyakumari will get a chance to learn, play and enjoy football. More than 15,000 schools around the country will be partners in this,” he said.
Calling every parent and teacher to encourage children, the PM added, “We need the support not just of children but also of every parent and every teacher to encourage boys and girls to play football and develop both skill and fitness. I am confident that these children will be able to take Indian football to its rightful place in the world.”
The tournament’s director Javier Ceppi was glad to ge the PM’s support.
“We have been working very hard on making this a success. This backing from Prime Minster Modi will only strengthen our resolve to make this the most popular and watched World Cup in India and help change Indian football.”