The central government has cut financing to the All India Football Federation by about 85% in the previous four years, blaming the Indian team’s ‘poor performance,’ The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.
The federation’s grants under the Annual Calendar of Training and Competitions have dropped from Rs 30 crore for the financial year 2019-20 (for an 18-month period up to September 2020) to Rs 10 crore in 2020-21, and then to Rs 5 crore this year.
As per the report, a ministry official cited the failure of the AIFF’s developmental efforts wherein age-group teams have struggled to make an impact at the continental level and the women’s football programme ‘lacked structure.’ The national team’s performances, as well as the men’s team’s ranking, were also discussed during the budget meeting.
Federation officials submitted proposals that were at least three times the sanctioned budget during the ACTC meeting in New Delhi on March 29. But neither the Sports Ministry nor the Sports Authority of India were convinced. The government stated that the funding for football will be reassessed after the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, in September, based on performance.
According to the minutes of the meeting noted, “A review would be undertaken after Asian Games 2022, in the month of October 2022, based on the achievements in the Asian Games, 2022, for any additional requirement of funds subject to availability of budget under the ‘Assistance to NSF’ Scheme.”
The report also pointed out that football has received far less funding for the current fiscal year than other sports such as athletics (Rs 30 crore), badminton, boxing, hockey, shooting (all Rs 24 crore), archery (Rs 15.85 crore), and weightlifting (Rs 11 crore).
A top AIFF official bemoaned the sport’s ‘differential treatment,’ stressing upon the how a major sport like football received less money than other sports with differing participation numbers and competition.
The official said, “Despite the differential treatment by the government, the AIFF has not compromised on any activity for the senior and junior teams, both men and women.”