Indian football has come forward in a big way to support the fight against the pandemic.
At the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the All India Football Federation has decided to contribute Rs 25 lakhs to the PM CARES Fund. The AIFF President Praful Patel said, “The love, care and support from countrymen has provided us motivation all throughout. Hence, now is the time to pay back our country in whatever manner we can. We need to stand together and help each other hoping to overcome the crisis.”
The Federation has been taking proactive steps ever since the coronavirus outbreak has affected the nation. Accordingly, the ISL finale between ATK and Chennaiyin FC was played behind closed doors in the Fatorda Stadium.
Thereafter, the ongoing I-League season was suspended and there has not been any announcement regarding when the campaign will resume again. All footballing activities under the AIFF patronage have been put on a halt for the time being. The association also directed all of its employees to work from home till the 14th of April.
Several Indian footballers have been putting efforts to provide financial support to fight the current situation that has impacted the entire country. Earlier this week, it was reported that the ATK trio of Prabir Das, Pritam Kotal and Pronay Halder had contributed Rs 1,20,000 together to the West Bengal Emergency Relief Fund. Pronay pooled in with Rs 20,000 whilst Prabir and Pritam donated Rs 50,000 each.
Speaking to the Times of India, Pritam Kotal had stated, “This is an emergency. We must all step up to help in this crisis situation. This is just a primary donation, we are looking to help more if needed.”
The Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri had remarked yesterday through his social media handles that the national side’s players had accumulated together an amount and sent it to PM CARES.
He had declared, “We’ve always received more than we can give. Which is why in this time of need, all of us national team players have come together and put on the table a sum that has been sent to the PM-Cares Fund to help India’s fight with the pandemic.
“It’s been heartening to see everyone – cutting across caps, goals, age and experience – give, and give with a smile. When word got out, even some who have long stopped pulling on an India shirt, turned up and asked to be counted. That’s what a team is all about.”
Additionally, Chhetri was chosen to be a part of the FIFA-WHO joint awareness campaign against coronavirus. He was one amongst the 28 past and current renowned footballers who have been picked for this noble cause. Bhaichung Bhutia and Indian women’s football team captain Bala Devi have been selected for the AFC’s #BreakTheChain campaign that raises consciousness about the same topic too.