Bengaluru, June 12 (IANS) The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Sports Authority of India (SAI) have agreed to participate closely in the development of the game and extending the outreach of the sport in India.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in this regard was signed by AIFF general secretary Kushal Das and Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal here on Thursday.

Das said it was imperative for the government and the federation to develop the sport in the country. The general secretary also outlined the basic framework of the agreement which worked on three broad areas of coach education, talent identification and infrastructural development.

“It is an important occasion for Indian football and it is a matter of great pride that the SAI is entering into collaboration with the AIFF. The collaboration will be mutually beneficial for both parties as it focuses on coach education, talent development and identification, which will be an optimal progression for Indian football in the coming future,” Sonowal said.

SAI Director General Injeti Srinivas said: “The relationship is more than just giving grants and funds and will focus on the development of football from the grassroots. It is imperative to develop infrastructure for the evolution of the national team and for this the inception of training centres will be witnessed shortly.”

One SAI stadium and five training sites have already been shortlisted for use during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup to be held in India in 2017.

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