Indian Super League (ISL) and All India Football Federation (AIFF) will collaborate with Premier Skills, a joint initiative between the English Premier League and British Council, to develop a football ecosystem in the country, it was announced on Saturday.
The initiative will be launched here on Monday. This will mark the start of the new three-year Premier Skills programme in India and globally, and will place in Mumbai for the very first time.
Premier Skills is a proven model. Since the programme began in 2007, 7,600 coaches and referees have been trained in 29 countries, who in turn have reached 1.2 million young people.
Building on that success, Premier Skills is embarking on a new three-year global programme, starting with phase 1 in Mumbai, strengthening existing networks of Premier Skills coaches and rolling out training to a new generation of community football coaches across the world.
Premier Skills has already delivered a highly successful programme in India, training 400 coaches, who in turn have reached 20,000 young people since the programme began here.
Premier Skills in Mumbai will build on that track record. Taking place at the Father Agnel School sports centre in Vashi, the Premier Skills ‘Phase 1′ course will see 50 Indian grassroots and elite youth coaches from all eight ISL clubs and and the following NGOs — Magic Bus, Slum Soccer, Special Olympics Bharat Maharashtra, Cequin, Dream a Dream and Oscar Foundation participate.
The coaches will receive week-long expert training from qualified Premier Skills coaches, giving them the skills and support to develop their own community football projects.
The course in Mumbai will be led by Jeremy Weeks, Premier Skills Head Coach. He will be supported by Robert Parrett, Development Manager at Crystal Palace Football Club and Katie Bottom, Women and Girls Development Officer at West Ham United Football Club.
They will be joined by three Indian Premier Skills coach educators who have come through the programme in India between 2013-16 and will be on hand to assist the Premier League coaching team and pass on their experience to their fellow Indian coaches.
Mumbai will also mark the beginning of a partnership between Premier Skills, AIFF and Football Sports Development Ltd (FSDL), a joint venture between IMG-Reliance and Star India.
The Phase 1 course will be delivered in partnership with AIFF and FSDL, supporting the development of the ISL’s community programmes.
AIFF have accredited the Premier Skills Phase 1 training as equivalent to their D Licence certification.
Candidates who successfully complete the Phase 1 course will further be able to apply for an AFC C Certificate course after a period of three months of successfully completing the Phase 1 course.
Richard Scudamore, Premier League executive chairman, said, “This is an exciting new stage for Premier Skills in India, as we now build on the foundations the project has laid through our work in Kolkata and across Goa and Kerala.”
Nita Ambani, chairperson of Football Sports Development Ltd said, “We are extremely glad to partner with Premier Skills and strengthen our existing relationship with the Premier League.”
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said, “All India Football Federation welcomes the initiative and are delighted to associate with Premier Skills. AIFF will award ‘D’ licensing certificate to all the candidates who successfully complete the Premier Skills Phase 1 certification.”