Indian Football

'Futsal One of the Main Ways to Improve Standard of Indian Football,' Claims AIFF Match Commissioner

Arjun Singh Devgan

All India Football Federation (AIFF) match commissioner, Aparup Chakraborty believes that Futsal has the potential to become a game-changer for the country and is the main way by which the standard of football can be improved in the country.

Chakraborty, who India’s youngest Match Commissioner to officiate more than 140 AIFF matches and the Technical Director at Indian Football Association (IFA) Futsal believes that the popularity of the sport in South America and Europe are one of the main reasons why their players are gifted and know the basics of the game at a young age.

"You talk about Pele, Messi, Maradona or Ronaldinho, they have all played at some point in time and the Latin America’s short pass has come from Futsal only. It wasn’t a part of the European culture before but now small-sided games (SSG) which is nothing but Futsal is slowly gaining popularity in Europe," he told

“Short passes to kids are taught through Futsal before big tournaments in football and it is the perfect match simulation for kids. Spain is currently ranked No 7 in football but they are ranked No. 1 in futsal and has won two World Cups, the rest are won by Brazil.

“I have to develop the sport if we are to entertain any thoughts of improving the standard of Indian football. I am not talking about hosting a World Cup but I am talking about performing and Futsal is the only pathway for India to get into the world map as a successful footballing nation. AIFF has already started working on it. We have started the Baby League which is part of the FIFA development program and AIFF has taken this up very seriously. Baby League targets kids in the age group of 6-12 and it is a small-sided game that encourages participation of all registered kids. The goal is to encourage mass participation," he concluded.

It will be interesting to see how Futsal as a sport develops in the country, considering that Cricket is still the number one sport in India by a huge margin among the young population.