Premier Futsal on Thursday claimed that it has got support from the Sports Ministry while promising a bigger and better second edition of the five-a-side franchise-based league later this year.
Headed by the legendary Luis Figo, the Premier Futsal think-tank today called on Sports Minister Vijay Goel. It said the sports minister has assured the venture full support, giving a huge fillip to the one-of-its-kind tournament.
President Figo was accompanied by Manchester United great Ryan Giggs and Alessandro Rosa Vieira, popularly known as Falcao and considered the greatest player of the sport.
“It’s always a positive to get the support of the minister as he is the person who has an idea about sports in the country. He is the one who understands that sports should be promoted,” the former Portuguese playmaker said after the launch of the league’s second season here.
The founders of the league Dinesh Raj, Abhinandan Balasubramanian and Nithyashree Subban along with the investor Xavier Britto announced the commencement of the LaunchPad initiative and the plans for the season two and beyond.
Match days will be increased from 8 to 14, number of matches will go up from 15 to 27 and will held at three venues.
Figo, one of the key members of the famed Real Madrid Galacticos, said, “My association with Premier Futsal has been a special one. The 2016 edition of the tournament brought back memories of enjoying the sport back in the streets of my hometown in Portugal. Season 1 of Premier Futsal was a great experience as it allowed me to experience and view first hand, the potential India holds in this sport.
“We were able to unearth some very promising, young players who rose to the occasion when needed and contributed to quality of futsal played on court, a first-of-its-kind in the world. With season 2, we seek to be bigger and aim to reach out to a wider audience while potentially changing lives via LaunchPad, which is going to act as a great awareness campaign for the sport and promote community building through youth engagement.”
Dinesh Raj, Managing Director, Premier Futsal, added “With our expansion plans to take Premier Futsal global to locations like China, Taiwan and Dubai, we are also in discussion with multiple institutional investors who are looking to fuel our growth.
“Private participation in the sports sector is going to supplement the exemplary work of our government and our Prime Minister’s vision to make India a multi-discipline sports leader in the years to come.”
AIFF says it does not recognise Premier Futsal
Meanwhile, the AIFF stated that it does not recognise Premier Futsal. The AIFF also asked its state units not to allow their players to participate in the “unauthorised and unofficial Futsal league”.
“AIFF reiterates that Premier Futsal is not recognised by the AIFF. Futsal, as per the AIFF constitution, is governed by the federation. The Federation is also instructing all its affiliate units not to allow players who are registered with the affiliates to participate in this unauthorised and unofficial Futsal league,” the AIFF said in a release.
AIFF said it plans to start a futsal tournament this year along with its marketing partner Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), the company which operates Indian Super League.
“The Federation plans to start its own futsal tournament this year along with its marketing partner Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL). In this regards, the Federation has also written to the Asian Football Confederation for support in structuring a National Futsal tournament to be launched this year,” it said.
Meanwhile, Premier Futsal today launched its second edition of the five-a-side franchise-based league to be played later this year. Legendary Portuguese playmaker Figo, Manchester United legend Giggs and Alessandro Rosa Vieira, popularly known as Falcao and considered the greatest futsal player, were present at the launch here.
The trio met Sports Minister Vijay Goel today and Figo, the head of Premier Futsal, said that his organisation has got the support of the Ministry.