The Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP) India is an Australian Government initiative implemented by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) with a commitment of AUD 5 million over five years (2009-14).
The ASOP program is implemented through strategic partnerships created with selected organisations for their notable impact on Indian sport and connection with grassroots.
ASOP partners receive ASC funds to deliver budgeted, annual work plans, based on mutually agreed goals and objectives.
The agreement includes financial, administrative and technical support (from FFA) in the form of capacity building within the State Associations currently involved in the Grassroots Programme, Grassroots Courses and Grassroots Festivals, among many such activities.
Praful Patel, President, All India Football Federation, felt the partnership will usher in a new era for Indian Football.
"I'm sure FFA's technical inputs will serve AIFF's Grassroots Programme in a long way. The involvement and support of the Australian Government to strengthen the Grassroots and developing Players for the future has been appreciated by all. I thank FFA for the initiative and look forward to working with them," Patel said.
Australia's High Commissioner to India Patrick Suckling welcomed the agreement.
"Football is becoming increasingly popular in India, and I'm very glad that the FFA is providing technical and professional support to help it continue to grow," said Suckling.
"Sport is one of the foundations of the relationship between India and Australia, and this agreement will strengthen it even further."
David Gallop, General Secretary, FFA, said he believes that both India and Australia stand to gain from focusing on the development of grassroots football.
"We are delighted to be entering into this partnership with the AIFF. Football is hugely popular in both our nations, and it is satisfying that we can work together to harness this great potential for the future of the game. We are very enthusiastic about the positive results this partnership will bring," he said.
Michael Brown, CEO of the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 Local Organising Committee, said he believes the time is right to invest in the future of football in Asia.
"Australia is serious about helping to spread football's reach and technical expertise throughout Asia, particularly through youth programs. The fact that we are hosting the next Asian Cup encourages us to redouble our efforts in this regard," he stated.
"Our stated goals at the 2015 Asian Cup include celebrating Asia's rich football culture, and leaving an enduring legacy. Playing a part in developing India's grass roots program is very much in keeping with those goals."
Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF, echoed Patel's sentiments.
"I welcome FFA into the partnership. AIFF's Grassroots Programme under the technical expertise of our Technical Director Mr. Robert Baan is a significant impact. AIFF looks forward to working with FFA and the Australian Government. Football in the region will only benefit from the agreement," he stated.
The AIFF Grassroots Programme is designed for kids (boys and girls) between 6 to 12 years of age.
It is primarily driven through the State Football Associations and is tailor made incorporate all stakeholders such as Clubs (amateur and professional), Schools and Community Football Initiators.
A significant aspect of this partnership will be the designing and implementation of a comprehensive Child Protection Policy within the Grassroots Programme.
It is the first time that such a policy is being designed and implemented on a pan India basis among all sports in India.
--IBNS (Posted on 30-10-2013)