THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

FIFA VP Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein launches AFDP-Magic Bus partnership in Delhi

AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das, Baichung Bhutia and FIFA Vice-President HRH Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein

FIFA Vice-President HRH Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein launched the “Asian Football Development Project’s” (AFDP) partnership with the Magic Bus India Foundation at the Vinay Marg Sports Complex in New Delhi on Monday. All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das, former India captain Baichung Bhutia and Mathew Spacie (CEO, Magic Bus Foundation India) were also present on the occasion.

The AFDP, an independent organisation, headed by HRH Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein, aims to provide effective, needs-based assistance to all Asian football associations in a fair and transparent manner.

Speaking on the occasion, Prince Al-Hussein said: “This is the beginning for all of us as we intend to take the sport to the next level. I’m confident we’ll find enough elite players through the initiative.”

“Growing football talent from some marginalised areas of the world is a truly worthy venture and we are proud to be associated with this initiative. The girls who are part of this will create a change in their own lives and become role models for other girls in the neighbourhood,” he added.

“All India Football Federation is glad to be associated with Magic Bus Foundation India for such a venture. Grassroots stays on the top of AIFF’s priority list and we want to broadbase it,” AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said. “Using football to pursue social and development goals like gender equality is something we fully support. This is a wonderful new initiative leveraging the world’s most popular sport and I am excited about such creative possibilities,” he added.

“We believe the beautiful game can play an important role in creating a significant impact on the society,” he added.

Baichung Bhutia stressed on the importance of the fairer sex playing the sport. “Obviously we want kids to play but we need girls to play football as well,” he maintained. “As a member of the AIFF’s Technical Committee, Grassroots stay very close to my heart.”

Spacie reflected on football “cutting all barriers in the society.”

“We need more and more kids to play the sport. Magic Bus works to move children out of poverty using sport as a development tool and football is a very important tool in our community development initiative,” he opined.

(AIFF Press Release)