New Delhi, Oct 5 (ANI): Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Ajay Maken on Wednesday said the Jawaharlal Nehru (JLN) Stadium in New Delhi would soon be transformed into the 'Mecca of football'.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) today signed an agreement to develop the Jawaharlal Nehru (JLN) Stadium as a football hub in the country
"Today is a historic day because I think, what we are doing now, will perhaps lay the foundation for conversion of this Jawaharlal Nehru stadium into a 'Mecca of football', which Kolkata used to claim so far. I think in future, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium would become the hub of football," said Maken.
Maken further said the government was prepared to allocate more days to football if they received requests for competitions or other purposes.
"The best way is to have international competitions at such places, through the national sports federation. We hope that 40 days, which All India Football Federation will be getting now from the Sports Authority of India every year, they will be able to have the best of national and international competitions," said Maken.
"Let me assure you, if you want more days for football matches in any given month or year, we are prepared to give those days also. Treat it as your own stadium, treat it as a football hub. Whichever manner you want to use it, we are prepared to give it to you as far as football is concerned," he added.
Meanwhile, Union Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel, who is the AIFF President xpressed his delight over the agreement, and described the event to be an important step in efforts to improve the standards of football game in the country by providing best sporting infrastructure.
"I am very happy that All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) have signed a very important agreement. As Mr. Maken (Sports Minister Ajay Maken) has told me there are some turfs outside also, which can be used as practice turfs. Especially, for smaller games like local leagues and other matches, where these smaller turfs with thousand-seating capacity, can also be put to good use," said Patel.
The SAI and AIFF have signed an agreement here today to develop the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium as football hub in the country.
SAI Secretary Gopal Krishna and AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das signed the agreement in the presence of Praful Patel and Ajay Maken.s per agreement, SAI will enable use of the Stadium by AIFF including the main pitch for a maximum period of 40 days per year. SAI will also provide AIFF the outside practice ground of the stadium free of cost for 50 days in a year along with other necessary facilities available in the stadium for the smooth conduct of national and international football tournaments.
AIFF on its part of obligation will repair/re-lay the turf on the main pitch at JLN Stadium at its own cost.
The agreement also mentions that AIFF will provide events wise calendar to SAI indicating the requirements of other facilities. AIFF will hold SAFF Football Tournament in December 2011, Nehru Cup Football Tournament 2012, International Matches, Domestic tournaments and for the remaining period out of 40 days, it will hold coaching camps and clinics related to Football.
The agreement will be valid for one year and can be extended further for two years on the basis of review and mutual understanding. (ANI)