La Liga to take football to new level in rural India


La Liga to take football to new level in rural India

Spain’s premier football league La Liga has announced its partnership with Anantapur-based Rural Development Trust (RDT) to promote football among the rural youth, especially the girls.

RDT, through its sport-for-development initiative Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA), is conducting a yearly football league – Anantapur Football League (AFL) – and this partnership will primarily focus on increasing girls’ participation in football through the established league.

AFL, a much-awaited annual football extravaganza played over three months, saw a participation of around 1600 girls and boys in 400 matches played between 18 football clubs of ASA Grassroots Football Programme across six age categories in 2017.

“The partnership with La Liga Foundation will further enhance our efforts towards promoting football among rural children and youth of Anantapur, particularly girls, and it will provide a platform to rural children and youth to access their ‘Right to Play’.

“We are pleased to be partnering with La Liga Foundation and we believe, together, we can bring the benefits of sport a step closer to the youth of Anantapur,” Miquel Llado, Technical Director, ASA Football Academy, told Sportstar.

The partnership involves female coaches from ASA Grassroots Football Programme interacting with coaches from Spain via videos. These audio-visual interactions will comprise a question and answer session alongwith nittygritties of coaching and the challenges faced by girls while participating in sport in Spain. The La Liga will also support players by providing them football equipment and technical support.

The later stages of the collaboration will see La Liga officials and Spanish coaches coming to Anantapur to see the progress and interact with the football players and coaches from the region.

ASA helped past players in continuing their passion by supporting 22 volunteer coaches, who played previous editions of the league, secure All India Football Federation (AIFF) ‘D’ license in coaching.

The push towards promoting participation of girls in sport at the grassroots already witnessed an international success story when R. Shobha, part of the grassroots, represented India at the Homeless World Cup 2017 held in Norway.

“Football has made me a confident individual and a team leader which has helped me to be strong during difficult times,” says R, Shobha, U-15 Girl Volunteer Coach at Kalyandurg FC.

Truly, La Liga-ASA partnership is the beginning of a football revolution in rural India.