The Indian FIFA U- 17 football team has beat the Italian U-17 team in a friendly match but all we can see on the sports page are just the latest IPL news updates. No one can deny the fact that the condition of football in the country is worsening by the day and a large chunk of the football fans in the country are not even up to date with the latest events in Indian football. Football fans in India are well versed with the goings on in European club football but unfortunately their understanding of Indian football is still limited to Baichung Bhutia and Sunil Chhetri.
- Very limited funds has been allocated for football in the Union Budget
India is crazy about it cricketers even since it won the World Cup back in 1983. Even the government seems to favour the cause of cricket since it more than halved the funds reserved for football in the national budget. Being a footballer in India is not a profitable profession since the money in this game is very little. In the last five years all the fanfare about IPL has largely contributed to push the game of football to the background.
- Poor Infrastructure
One of the most pressing hurdles of Indian football is the total lack of infrastructure. There are hardly any standard stadiums or training grounds for this game. Most of the I –League venues are in need of massive renovation so as to be ready to host the U-17 FIFA world cup. Moreover most of these stadiums are owned by the government or the municipality rather than any football club. Like any other government run institution in the country, the stadiums too are lacking in maintenance. They are often rented out for concerts and other events which bring in money.
- Indians don’t care about domestic football
Indian football lovers are oblivious of the domestic football scenario and the young football enthusiasts of the country are usually fans of Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea etc. They can stay awake all night to live stream the matches of their favourite club but they hardly have any idea about the performance of the Indian football team in the FIFA U-17. The total disinterest in domestic football along with the scornful attitude of the people towards Indian football is a serious problem which needs to be addressed immediately.
- Lack of a football culture
As you surely know by now, playing football in India is never considered to be a viable career option. According to a recent survey only 6% of football viewers in the country are up to date about the latest happenings in domestic football. Even in cities like Calcutta which has a rich history of football, sportsmen are keener on practicing cricket. People have gotten it into their head that the money and fame lies in cricket and that its’ is the future of sports in India.
While concluding I need to point out that its’ high time for us Indians to rally around the cause of domestic football and provide it with the much required funds and support.