Blues’ Grassroots Development Initiative Is Only Club-Operated Program In India To Earn Recognition
Bengaluru: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has conferred JSW Bengaluru Football Club’s Youth Development Program with a two-star Academy status, in addition to its endorsement of the All India Football Federation with full membership of its AFC Elite Youth Scheme. Bengaluru are the only professional football club to gain the recognition, with the Reliance Foundation Young Champs Academy being the other.
“We are delighted to confer to the AIFF the AFC Elite Youth Scheme full membership status and the Reliance Foundation Young Champs Academy and JSW Bengaluru FC Academy the two-star Academy status,” stated Dato Windsor John, General Secretary of the AFC.
The status, which is subject to re-evaluation after three years as per Article 6 of the AFC Elite Youth Scheme Regulations and Guidelines, has been granted to both entities for their ‘truly remarkable’ academies, according to Kushal Das, General Secretary of the All India Football Federation.
“I would like to congratulate Reliance Foundation Young Champs Academy and JSW Bengaluru FC Academy for receiving the two-star status. Their academies are truly remarkable and have been promising ones to deliver future stars of the sport,” said Das.
The Bengaluru FC Grassroots Development Program, set across Bengaluru and Bellary, has been in operation since the establishment of its BFC Soccer Schools Program in 2014. Over the years, BFC Soccer Schools has added as many as 20 centres across three states, expanding to Maharashtra and Gujarat, in addition to Karnataka.
Further to this, the club has added the U7, U9 and U11 day-boarding academies in Bengaluru, the club’s U13 and U15 Residential setup in Bellary, the U18 and Bengaluru FC Reserve team and the most recent Elite Program, which brings the best children from BFC Soccer Schools under one roof. Several graduates of the club’s Academy now ply their trade with the first team, a pathway that has proven successful for the club’s Youth Development program.
“We are very happy to be given this recognition, and it only increases our responsibility towards Youth Development in the country. We have always maintained that the progress of our Grassroots program and Academy teams is an important marker to the success of the club, and we look forward to setting the benchmark higher in the coming years,” said club CEO, Mandar Tamhane.