Bhubaneswar, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik Monday launched ‘Football for All’ in Odisha to take the culture of football to the grassroots.

The programme has been initiated by FIFA in Odisha in partnership with KIIT & KISS. Over 43 thousand footballs will be distributed to children in about 2000 schools. This is the first such programme of FIFA in India that aims at promoting football among school children.

Joining the programme on virtual platform, the CM said that football is the most popular game and brings together people across the globe.

Hoping that these partnerships and initiatives will help football development in our country, he said, we are quite focused on football development, especially women’s football. As a legacy of the World Cup, we will have good infrastructure and coaching programs, he added.

Saying that it’s a proud moment for Odisha to be the host venue for the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup, he said, we have partnered with AIFF and FIFA to bring the best of football to the State. This World Cup will give a major boost towards development of football in the state, he emphasised.

Expressing happiness over the launch of the programme, he thanked FIFA for choosing Odisha for this program and appreciated the role of Dr Achyuta Samanta and KIIT-KISS for bringing this program to Odisha.

The CM looked forward to future partnerships with FIFA for development of football in Odisha.

Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera said that under the vision of CM Naveen Patnaik, the state is investing heavily in sports infra. FIFA partnership will help promote football at school level, he added.

MP and Founder of KIIT & KISS Dr Achyuta Samant said that the CM’s vision has helped in development of an illustrious sports eco-system in Odisha. KIIT and KISs have been the logistics hub for this programme, he added.

Director of ‘Football For Schools’, FIFA, Fatimata Sow Sidbe joining over virtual platform appreciated the role of CM and Odisha going forovernment for promotion of sports in Odisha. She said, football is a powerful platform to change society. She said that ‘Football for All’ is a FIFA vision to make football truly global. The programme will provide life skill support to children, she added. She also thanked KIIT for the support.

Minister Behera presented footballs to students of Unit-9 girls High School and Capital High School Bhubaneswar in presence of Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik.

Chief secretary Suresh Mohapatra, secretary to CM (5T) VK Pandian and other senior officers were present.

School & Mass Secretary Aswathy S gave the welcome address and Commissioner-cum-Secretary Sports Vineel Ksrishna offered the vote of thanks.