The 3rd season of STAIRS School Football League, world’s biggest football scouting and training programme at the school level, was kicked off by Shri Vijay Goel, Minister of State, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, today at Thyagaraj Sports Complex in New Delhi.
Legendary Cricketer and former captain of Sri Lankan Cricket team, Mr. Sanath Jayasuriya along with Mr. Rajiv Yadav, Secretary, Sports, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports graced the opening ceremony of SSFL-3 with their distinguished presence.
In its third year now, SSFL - 3 will see more than 30,000 School level footballers from 2000 schools of Delhi & Gujarat participating in the tournament. The mega sports event will witness 4000 matches (500 in Delhi and 3500 in Gujarat)being played, making it the biggest as well as the longest ever football league at the school level. A total of 256 teams comprising 128 teams of under 14 boys and 128 teams of under 17 boys will be participating in the tournament. Apart from the boys’ team, the tournament will also see avid participation from32 girls’ teams in under 14 and under 17 categories.
The launch event was followed by an interactive session between thechildren and dignitaries. Seeing the enthusiasm among the children, Mr. Vijay Goel, Minister of State, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, and other dignitaries expressed their happiness and wished them luck for the matches. They assured all support to the league and other initiatives of STAIRS in order to encourage and develop sports at the grassroots.
’’Expressing joy over Stairs School Football League entering the third season, Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman and Managing Director, Uflex Limited said, “Our association with STAIRS has come a long way for institutionalizing sports in the best interest of underprivileged children and youth. I am happy the way this platform has evolved over the years paving way for inclusive development. Particularly encouraging is to see girls and the differently abled participating in large numbers. The children playing under the Uflex-SSFL banner are brimming with confidence which I equate to social empowerment.”
Addressing the august gathering at Thyagaraj Sports Complex, Mr. Siddhartha Upadhyay, Founder and Secretary General, STAIRS said,
The fundamental objectives of SSFL include -
a) Transforming the sporting scenario at the grassroots,
b) Uproot all obstacles confronting sporting talent at the hinterland and
c) Nurturing future champions and creating opportunities for them to excel
SSFL-3 begins with league matches at over 8 different venues across four zones in Delhi while the semi-final and final games will be played at the central venue. The event is solely meant for the children under 14 years and under 17 years of age and exactly follows the FIFA World Cup format. All the participating school teams will also have to go through the qualifier rounds. For the 3rd season SSFL will be getting assistance from Sakaar Association for all its matches/ events in Delhi and from Gujarat State Football Association for all Gujarat-based matches.
The league has become one of the most significant ‘talent spotting’ platforms for clubs and bodies seeking to acquire talent right at early adolescence. While many officials and individuals from professional bodies keep their eyes on the budding players during the matches, selectors from international foreign clubs watch ‘live streaming’ of important matches and even call for recorded videos to assess the performance and potential of promising players.