‘Lack of football infrastructure a problem in India’

New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) All India Football Federation (AIFF) technical director Scott O’Donell said that lack of suitable infrastructure, specially in terms of playing and training facilities, is a big problem in the country.

The technical director said the AIFF Academy Programme hasn’t been a smooth journey because of the limited resources available.

“We have had issues with venues for our academies because we do not have our own national training centre. As a result we have had to search for suitable venues across the country. The lack of suitable infrastructure is a big problem but I am hoping with the hosting of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, at least one legacy will be the improvement in playing and training facilities,” O’Donell said on Tuesday.

“Age cheating has been another big issue for us but we seem to have that nearly sorted by conducting MRI tests on all players who enter our academy programme.”

Speaking about the journey so far, he said, “It hasn’t always been easy but we have done what we have been able to do within our limited resources. I was at an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Youth Conference this week, and while we are not up there with the likes of Japan or Korea, we can be proud of what we have done in terms of our residential academies.

“We have given our young players the opportunity to experience the opportunity to live and breathe football on a full-time basis. AIFF has provided coaching, board and accommodation as well as education for all of our players.”

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