Footballs to be distributed to promote the game
Kolkata: The Mamata Banerjee government will be distributing footballs in educational institutions, local clubs and police lines to promote the FIFA Under-17 Football World Cup and to encourage youth get more involved and acquainted with the game.
This comes when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged everyone including Durga Puja committees to come forward and take steps to turn the Under-17 World Cup to a grand extravaganza. She had said this in the presence of Javier Cappi, Tournament Director of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the FIFA Under-17 Football World Cup after unveiling the "host city" logo of Kolkata where a total of 10 matches of the tournament including the final will take place. On Wednesday, she had also urged all Durga Puja organisers to display two footballs in each of their Puja pandals to promote the event.
According to a senior official of the state Youth Services and Sports department, it has been decided in a recently held meeting to distribute footballs carrying logo of the FIFA Under-17 Football World Cup among educational institutions including all high schools, higher secondary schools, high madrasas and colleges. All these institutions will be getting five footballs each. Each of the universities will be getting 15 footballs.
The official further said that besides the educational institutions, it was also decided to give five footballs to each of the local clubs who had received the grant of the state government since 2011. There are around 12,000 such clubs in the state which have received grants to promote sports and cultural activities so far. "It means 60,000 footballs will be distributed only among the clubs where children and youth from respective areas come to play the game," the official said.
He further said that since policemen too actively participate in sports and they play football regularly, the state government has also decided to give 10 footballs in each police line and battalion of both the Kolkata Police and West Bengal Police.
The footballs will be distributed on October 9 and 10. The FIFA Under-17 Football World Cup is going to start on October 6. On the same day, India will be playing against the USA.
The plan to give footballs to educational institutions, clubs and police lines just a day after the tournament starts has been made considering it will lead to more encouragement as at that time "football fever" will be at its peak in the state.
It has been decided that superintendents of police of each district will be distributing footballs among the clubs, educational institutions and police lines in their respective areas.
"Joyee" footballs those are being manufactured by Refugee Handicrafts under the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises and Textiles department will be distributed. It may be recalled that the Chief Minister had inaugurated the state manufactured football that has four varieties — Dribble, Challenger, Striker and Trainer — in February.
It may be mentioned that the state Youth Services and Sports department keep distributing different sports gears including indoor games round the year. This novel initiative to distribute footballs during the FIFA Under-17 Football World Cup will give impetus to children and youth to get more involved in the game, the official added.