Master plan unveiled for Indian football

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> A top FIFA representative prescribed a three-year roadmap for India to convert to a fully professional set-up.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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A top FIFA representative today prescribed a three-year roadmap for India to convert to a fully professional set-up and called for integration of football as a social education tool to help raise the game's standards at par with the international level. Victor Stanculescu, International Football Technical, Scientific and Business Advisor of FIFA also pointed out that Indian players needed to radically change their attitude from 'negative amateurism' to 'positive professionalism'. Stanculescu, who has come on a four-year deputation to India from FIFA through AFC about one and half months ago to assist in improving the country's football standards, stressed that proper training facilities should be given to youngsters from 5-13 years, as players of that age group had the most positive attitude towards learning novel methods. "In India, I see a lack of programme at this level. So, when one moves to the next level of players - 14 to 19 years - everything has to be started afresh," he said, while presenting highlights of a FIFA Master Plan for Indian football. The plan would target three World Cups - 2006, 2010 and 2014 - laying primary emphasis on a youth development programme where under 13 players would form a vital part. He recommended that India could follow the semi-professional structure for the next two years, before switching over to a fully professional set-up. (PTI)