The federation has fulfilled as many as 11 different criteria to attain the coveted status.

The apex body of Indian football, All India Football Federation has been conferred with full membership of the AFC Elite School Scheme by the Asian Football Confederations (AFC). Dato Windsor John, General Secretary of the AFC informed the AIFF that its application for full membership of the AFC Elite Youth Scheme has been approved by the Youth Panel of the continental body.

A letter to the AIFF on the subject read, “We are pleased to inform that your application for full membership of the AFC Elite Youth Scheme has been approved by the AFC Youth Panel.”

“In this regard, we are delighted to confer to the All India Football Federation the AFC Elite Youth Scheme full membership status and the Reliance Foundation Young Champs Academy and JSW Bengaluru FC Academy the two-star academy status, which is subject to re-evaluation after three years as per Article 6 (Renewal) of the AFC Elite Youth Scheme Regulations and Guidelines,” the statement as quoted by IANS said.

Kushal Das, the AIFF General Secretary thanked the AFC for recognizing the efforts and said, “The AFC Elite Youth Scheme has set a benchmark for all member associations to evaluate their youth football structure. We are thankful to the AFC for recognizing our effort and acknowledging us as a full member of the AFC Elite Youth Scheme. AIFF is working towards fulfilling all the criteria to bolster the youth league structure and further strengthen the qualities of footballers in India.”

Further, he congratulated Reliance Foundation Young Champs Academy and JSW Bengaluru FC Academy and remarked, “I would also like to congratulate Reliance Foundation Young Champs Academy and JSW Bengaluru FC Academy for receiving a two-star status. Their academies are truly remarkable and have been promising ones to deliver future stars of the sport.”

The AFC Youth Panel evaluates the applications of all member associations in 20 areas which include leadership, planning, organization, staffing, recruitment, finance, facilities, teams, coaching, players, player performance, health fitness, psychology, welfare, education, collaboration, assessment, rules and results.

Member associations must fulfill the first 11 criteria to be granted full membership and the ones who meet the first 10 criteria are awarded provisional membership.

Isac Doru, the Technical Director of the AIFF insisted, “It’s crucial for football development to have more top football academies. RFYC Academy and JSW BFC Academy should be an inspiring story for all new academies in India.”  

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