India’s grassroots football gets a boost with ‘Reliance Foundation Young Champs’




Mumbai, May 27, 2015: Grassroots Indian football received a big boost today, as 24 talented young footballers between 11 and 14 years of age were awarded the ‘Reliance Foundation Young Champs’ (RFYC) scholarships for structured training to hone their footballing skills, along with quality education at Reliance Foundation School at Koparkhairane, Mumbai.

Sachin Tendulkar, Mrs Fadnavis, Mrs Nita Ambani, Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Shri Mukesh Ambani and Shri Amitabh Bachchan at the inauguration function of Jio Garden at Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai and the Reliance Foundation Young Champs Scholarship Award ceremony

Sachin Tendulkar, Mrs Fadnavis, Mrs Nita Ambani, Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Shri Mukesh Ambani and Shri Amitabh Bachchan at the inauguration function of Jio Garden at Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai and the Reliance Foundation Young Champs Scholarship Award ceremony

Nita Ambani, Founder and Chairperson, Reliance Foundation and Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), Indian cinema icon Amitabh Bachchan and Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis handed over the scholarships to the children, at a function held today at the Jio Garden at Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai.

“I am delighted that Reliance Foundation’s vision to develop talent at the grassroots has taken its first big leap today. Thanks to the commitment and involvement of all eight ISL franchises, today I am confident that this grassroots football movement will form the backbone of Indian football in the years to come,” said Nita Ambani. “At Reliance Foundation and FSDL, we believe that sports and education go hand in hand. We will ensure that these children graduate with their talents and skills honed to realise their potential to the fullest,” she elaborated.

Indian Super League (ISL) also gave away a cash award of Rs 1.25 crore to Mumbai City FC for the ‘Best Grassroots Programme’. Ranbir Kapoor, noted actor and team owner of Mumbai City FC, received the award. Sameer Manchanda, team owner, received the runners-up award of Rs 75 lakh for Delhi Dynamos FC.

Encouraging and nurturing talent at the grassroots level is one of the core principles of FSDL, the promoters of ISL which has broken many spectator and viewership records in its inaugural edition in 2014. The RFYC programme is a definitive step towards realising FSDL’s dream of making India a footballing nation.

The 24 Young Champs were the chosen few from thousands of children who participated in football camps and selection trials organized across the country by the eight ISL franchisees. Nearly 200 talented young footballers were shortlisted from these camps and invited to Mumbai for week-long final trials overseen by Piet Hubers, Technical Director of ISL Grassroots Programme and Marcus Vaessen, Head Coach, RFYC programme.

Starting next month, the awardees will be groomed through exposure to global best practices and training modules to take on the mantle of next generation professional Indian footballers.

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