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Mission XI Million, biggest school sports outreach programme, launched

Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel (right) and AIFF President Praful Patel unveiling Kheleo, the mascot for FIFA under 17 World Cup India 2017, during the launch of the Mission XI Million, the biggest school sport outreach programme, in New Delhi on February 10, 2017.
Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel (right) and AIFF President Praful Patel unveiling Kheleo, the mascot for FIFA under 17 World Cup India 2017, during the launch of the Mission XI Million, the biggest school sport outreach programme, in New Delhi on February 10, 2017.
Mission XI Million, the biggest school sports outreach programme in India to promote football,was launched here yesterday by Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel.
 
A first of its kind programme, it will encourage children to play the "beautiful game of football", gain healthy habits and learn important life lessons in teamwork and sportsman spirit, an official press release said.
 
The approach is to work with school principals and sports teachers and encourage and incentivize them to make children play football games on regular basis, it added. 
 
All India Football Federation (AIFF) President and former Union Minister Praful Patel was also present at the launch.
 
Speaking on the occasion,  Mr Goel said that, over the past year, his Ministry had made taken bold strides towards developing a sporting culture in the country. Projects like Khelo India are helping towards developing sport at the ground level while the TOPS scheme and Olympic Task forces look to help elite athletes bring glory to India in the international arena, he said.
 
“With the FIFA U-17 World Cup being held in India in October this year, we are building our infrastructure and showcasing our ability to organize and execute global sporting events,” he added.
 
“But it is not just the stadiums and grounds that need to be built. In his Mann Ki Baat address on March 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 as a great opportunity for youth that can start a revolution in sports throughout our country,’ Mr Goel said.
 
“In his words, this whole year there should be an atmosphere of football in the schools and colleges and around our country. The Mission XI Million programme that we are launching today is inspired by this vision,” he added.
 
Mr. Goel and Mr. Patel also unveiled Kheleo, the mascot for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup India 2017 on the occasion.
 
The Minister described Mission XI Million as a massive school engagement programme for football. Designed with international sporting expertise, but keeping in mind the ground realities of a huge and varied country, it aims to instil the passion for football in 11 million children from every part of the country.
 
The key idea of Mission Xi Million is that every child should have the opportunity to play the world’s most popular sport. To make that happen, schools and parents must be equally involved in children’s physical well being, he pointed out.
 
Mission XI Million will provide parents and schools with the equipment and the knowledge about how to make regular play a reality for their wards. The programme will be rolled out in every state of the country, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari from Kutch to Imphal. The initial activity has already started, and the response from the schools and children has been encouraging, he said.
 
Aiming to reach out to over 37 cities and 12,000 schools across all 29 states of India, the initiative will focus on games that can be adapted to different field sizes and conditions, with special emphasis in small sided games (4 vs. 4 and 5 vs. 5).
 
It is divided into three phases: seminars for teacher and educators, in-school activities and football festivals, which will run up to September 2017, he added.
 
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