With an aim to strengthen the sports ecosystem and build football culture at the grassroots, Uflex Ltd, as a part of its corporate social responsibility, has committed itself to support Stairs School Football League (SSFL). Uflex had associated with the league in 2014 and with this year’s support it has extended its commitment for the next five years.
“We believe that without sports, the personality development of a child would be incomplete. Our association with SSFL will help in providing a complete ‘personality package’ to the children. While we are into the business of flexible packaging, socially our focus is to provide holistic personality package to the torchbearers of tomorrow through sports. We are committed to develop sports at the grassroots. We strongly believe that sports can tremendously contribute to the overall development of not just the children but the entire community for that matter. Being free to play is the universal right of every child. Our support to SSFL is a step towards ensuring that children in Delhi get free access to play football at some of the best sporting facilities across the state. . We believe that this initiative will give a tremendous boost to the sport by identifying, supporting and nurturing talent right from early adolescence.
I was amazed to learn that 288 schools are participating in one league, making it the biggest school-level league in India. Moreover, with participation of 32 girls’ teams, it becomes one-of-its-kind football tournament that also propagates ‘gender parity’, which is a must for the growth of our country. I congratulate Team STAIRS in achieving this scale and wish them good luck in this timely and meaningful initiative,” said Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman and Managing Director, Uflex Group.
Uflex Group also supports some of the other grassroots sports focused initiatives in several other states across the country.
“I am thankful to Uflex Group for encouraging our efforts and standing by the initiative. The support will help us making an impact that the country desires to see. One of the fundamental reasons for Indian football not being able to make a mark in the international circuit is that the country is not being able to produce skilled footballers from the grassroots. We have plenty of talented children in Delhi schools alone, but they hardly get a platform to showcase their talent and stay motivated to pursue their career in
the game. SSFL not only provides a platform to these children to present and hone their skills, but also acts as a first step towards professional football. We ensure that a promising player spotted here is nurtured, trained, motivated and gets enough support to be able to make a mark. The fundamental objective of every step we take at STAIRS is to create a holistic sporting environment for children,” said Siddhartha Upadhyay, Founder and Secretary General, STAIRS.
“We are hoping to see more corporate groups coming forward to support us in taking SSFL across the length and breadth of India. The support we seek is not just in terms of financial contribution for programmes, but also through partnerships wherein each partner adds some value to the initiative or takes care of one aspect of the programme, be it logistics, communication, outreach or healthcare”, added Upadhyay.
The STAIRS School Football League (SSFL) will be officially launched on 26 August 2015 at Thyagraj Sports Complex, New Delhi. The idea of the event is to boost the football culture among young children. The event is solely meant for the children under 14 years and under 17 years of age and follows the t FIFA World Cup format. It will begin with league matches at over 10 different venues across four zones in Delhi while the semi-final and final games will be played at the central venue. All the school teams intending to participate also have to go through the qualifier rounds.
The league has become one of the most significant ‘talent spotting’ platforms for clubs and bodies seeking to acquire talent at an early age. 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 of promising players.
In the first edition of SSFL last year, over 500 schools had applied out of which only 128 could qualify to participate in the league. The number is expected to double this time around. STAIRS also fields six teams (under-14 and under-17) that get a wild card entry to the event as they are selected through spotting camps across Delhi and then trained by professionals. This year’s STAIRS team comprises players chosen out of a wide array of over 4,000 sportspersons from across Delhi. Last year, the STAIRS team had ranked fourth in the tournament.