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I-League CEO impressed by grassroots development

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New Delhi, March 30: I-League CEO Sunando Dhar is all praise for the club licensing criteria which has prompted the clubs to invest in grassroots and develop talent in their own region.

Speaking on the sidelines of Ficci's GOAL Summit 2019, Dhar said: "The All India Football Federation had introduced Club Licensing in 2012 where one of the main focus was to develop home grown talent.

"The club licensing programme has been one of the best things to have happened to Indian Football. It has done wonders by professionalising the setup in a unique way. It prompted the clubs to invest in grassroots and develop talent in their own region."

Elaborating on the policy, Dhar said: "We have introduced the home grown rule for the same reason in the youth leagues as it would drastically increase the talent pool available.

"We have touched 15 states through the leagues that are running, be it even the youth leagues. Now, the next objective is to touch each and every state."

Dhar also stressed on the need to give local talent a chance so that football is developed from the grassroots. Players like Bilal Khan of Real Kashmir or Gaurav Bora of Chennai City were unknown names before this year's I-League. 

Bora, who scored two goals in Chennai City's win over Minerva Punjab FC earned his maiden U-23 national call-up after a good show in the I-League.

"Chennai City FC, Real Kashmir and Minerva Punjab FC have all given rise to local talent and they are reaping the benefits," Dhar added. 

"Teams need to take responsibility for developing talent in their own region and promoting football."

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