Football fans in India share the same passion for the beautiful game like many others around the globe. Football is the most popular game on earth and Indian fans know everything about their superstars.
The domestic game in India has an eventful calender with the I-League as the top-tier league football competition. But the women’s game in India is missing a comparable league system and there is a growing demand from women’s footballers to have a national league.
Delhi-based Kuhelika Guha is one of the female players with the passion to take the women’s game in India to the next level. Kuhelika has started a campaign including an online petition named “An Indian National Football League For Women – Uplift Women’s Football” to fulfill the dream of having a professional women’s league in India.
“Despite being ranked a low 169 in the FIFA Rankings, the men still have their I-League. On the other hand, women have squat despite being ranked 52nd in the world,” Kuhelika writes in the petition. “As we see it, the realization of India’s World Cup dream is more probable to be achieved by the women, and yet they are denied the resources, facilities and infrastructure that the men take for granted.”
“Is the love of the game a strong enough reason to drive a player to subject themselves to intensive training, discipline and hard work when they know that there will be no reward for their efforts in the end? The answer is NO. Then why are women any different from men? Is the constitutional right to gender equality only restricted to paper? Why is it that these players are being denied their right to play,” the petition continues.
The petition has been signed by more than 550 people so far, but it still need YOUR support to make a powerful statement. India’s legendary football icon and former men’s national team skipper Baichung Bhutia, my good old friend and colleague Arunava Chaudhuri and of course myself are just three of the people who strongly support this campaign.
I have been following women’s football in India and other parts of the globe for many years and I support the cause of the women’s game. Football has many facets and football is a game played by men and women. Indian football needs to develop in various parts of the game to become a powerful football nation and the focus should be laid on football in general – which includes men’s AND women’s football – to reach our goals.