Creating institutional league will encourage departments to invest in football: IM Vijayan

New Delhi, May 29 (PTI) Indian football legend IM Vijayan feels starting an institutional league will encourage the public sector undertakings (PSUs), various state departments, and police units to invest in the sport across the country.

The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) announcement of an institutional league to create more avenues for competition for footballers playing in PSUs, state departments, and police units, has been hailed by the man who is one of the country’s all-time best strikers.

“I was drafted into Kerala Police when I was a teenager. It’s only after I played for Kerala Police that I went on to play for Mohun Bagan, JCT, East Bengal and all. My entire journey started with Kerala Police, who gave me a job, and a chance to play and show my game at high levels,” Vijayan said.

Vijayan, in a storied career, went on to win several titles, which included two Federation Cup triumphs when he was part of the Kerala Police team.

“In my time the Kerala Police team was a legendary team. We had Sathyan, Chacko, Sharaf, all great players. Playing with them really honed my skills too. I credit them with really kick starting my career and owe them a lot.” Vijayan, who is currently the director of the Kerala Police Football Academy, an executive committee member of the AIFF and chairperson of its technical committee, believes the institutional league will revitalise investment in departmental teams and benefit players in the long run.

“One of the big complaints by a lot of departments, including SBI, SBT, FCI, was that there were no tournaments and competitions for them to play in through the years,” Vijayan said.

“They didn’t see the benefit of putting together a team just to be in training. This will encourage them to recruit more players also.

“The truth is that not every footballer in the country is going to play the ISL and the I-League. But that doesn’t mean they do not deserve to play in tournaments, get game time, and employment for their skills.

“I’m glad that the federation has taken this decision to launch the institutional league, it will do a lot for young players who have sports quota jobs with different units. It will also encourage more to take up the sport knowing that they can play it and also gain employment through it.”

Source: PTI News


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