The FIFA Academy is part of FIFA’s Golden Programme that was first proposed by its president Joseph Blatter and approved in 1999. While the first Goal project was limited to Somalia, Guyana and a few European countries, the second Goal project was wider in scope and across continents. One of the primary objectives of the project was to ensure that every member association had its own ‘House of Football’ – a headquarters and technical/training centre, and turf pitches.
Three centres were identified in India – Sikkim, Bangalore, and Andaman. The centre in Bangalore is expected to be ready within a year, and will accommodate 40 players. The academy, which will come up at the southern wing of the stadium, will run on joint grants from FIFA, AIFF and the state association. Artificial turf costing Rs 3.5 crore will be laid.
40 players for the academy would be selected by talent scouts at tournaments and camps across the country. They will be under-15 players and we will keep them here until the under-19 level. Most of them will spend an average of two years at the academy. Work on the Andaman centre will begin shortly