NEW DELHI: The FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) along with the AIFF (All India Football Federation) on 26th March 2019 organised GOAL 2019, the 6th International Convention on Business of Football in Federation House, Tansen Marg, New Delhi. Mr. Subrata Dutta (Senior Vice President); Smt. Sara Pilot (Chairperson, Women’s Football Committee) and Mr. Sunando Dhar (CEO of Hero I-League) represented AIFF at the convention, while Mr. Rohit Bharadwaj, Director of Sports of Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports from Government of India was also present.
Minerva Punjab FC were awarded for “Contribution for Developing Football at the Grassroots Level” at the opening ceremony.
Minerva Punjab FC were chosen for the award ahead of all other clubs and academies in the country, due to Minerva’s laudable efforts to develop football at a regional and grassroots level. Minerva Punjab FC have been Champions of the AIFF U-15 I-League for the last three consecutive years. Minerva also won the inaugural AIFF U-13 League held last year and this season have already claimed the AIFF U-18 League trophy.
Apart from the impressive win record of Minerva Punjab FC, Minerva also has the unique contribution of having supplied more than 50 players in various age group National teams directly from its residential football academy in Mohali.
Mr. Robert Klein, the CEO of Bundesliga awarded Minerva Punjab FC for their Valuable Contribution for Developing Football at the Grassroots Level. Mr. Ranjit Bajaj, the Owner of the club received the award on club’s behalf. “I am really happy that Minerva Punjab FC is being recognised for all the work we are doing to develop football at a regional level. We are devoted towards fulfilling our mission to produce players for the National Teams and this award comes as a great encouragement to us to carry on despite the obstacles.”
After the Awards ceremony the convention kicked off with a session on regional and national impact of the leagues (ISL and I-League) in the development of Indian Football. Mr. Ranjit Bajaj represented the only I-League club on the panel, Minerva Punjab FC and shared his perspective from the point of view of an I-League club owner. Mr. Sunando Dhar, CEO, I-League; Mr. Mandar Tamhane, CTO, Bengaluru FC; Mr. Indranil Das Blah, CEO, Mumbai City FC and Mr. Viren D’Silva, CEO, Kerala Blasters FC were also on the panel for the session. The discussion progressed from India’s 2026 World Cup hopes, the impact of the leagues in creating talent pool for the future and how the leagues have benefited the football ecosystem in the country.