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Tata Steel brings Football experts together to talk about the evolution of Indian Football and its Future

Mumbai, September 09, 2020

Tata Steel organised a panel discussion on September 5 to discuss the evolution and the future of Football in India. Panelists including Mr. R. Vineel Krishna, IAS, Additional Secretary & Director Sports, Youth Services Department, Government of Odisha, Mr. Sunando Dhar, CEO, Leagues Department, AIFF, Mr. Rohan Sharma, President, Odisha FC, Mr. Mandar Tamhane, CEO, Bengaluru FC, and Mr. Mukul Vinayak Choudhari, CEO, Jamshedpur FC, participated in the webinar and exchanged their perspectives on the subject. Mr. Rajiv Seth, Project Director, NTHA Odisha, and Ms. Diksha Tiwari, Consulting Senior Associate Editor, My City Links Magazine, co-moderated the discussion.

Odisha State has great talent in tribal and rural areas. The women’s football team in Odisha has been performing well in the national teams in recent years. They come from poor backgrounds and have shown immense potential. Odisha will host the Women’s Under 17 Football Tournament in the run up to the FIFA event next year.

Mr. R. Vineel Krishna said: “Football is a game that does not require great infrastructure or facilities. Greatest players in the game have come from humble backgrounds, who had the talent and love for the game. Football has taken its time to become a popular game, given that India is primarily a cricket crazy nation. I am sure few years down the line Football too will enjoy similar following and popularity in India. ISL has also paved the way for Football in India and revived the hopes for budding talent in the country. The model where the corporates like Tata Steel bring in the expertise has helped promote the sport.

Mr. Mukul Vinayak Choudhari, CEO, Jamshedpur FC, said: “Jamshedpur FC is doing great work to promote grass root football in Jharkhand and specifically in Jamshedpur. We did have a Tata Football Academy for many years that provided a platform to budding talent, however it did not provide professional and expert coaching to train professional players. We have started engaging with schools across the state and touched about 3500 young students so far and will continue further. I am glad Golden Baby Leagues have begun and it’s overwhelming to see the kids and parents participating in it every weekend. We hope the sport will grow and best of talent will get the opportunity to be acknowledged in the times to come.

The game of football has come a long way in India and has gained immense popularity amongst the youth today. Earlier, it was only popular in few states, but thanks to the growth of television, internet live football events that can be now watched across the globe has helped increase the popularity and following for the game in the last decade. Also, the emergence of local football leagues has given an uplift to the game where talented youth has multiple opportunities to play their favourite game.

Mr. Sunando Dhar, CEO, Leagues Department, AIFF, said: “The AIFF has evolved in the last few years, more younger people joining the federation has brought about a change in the leadership, approach and the vision for the game within the country. Our partnership with FIFA has helped us structure the teams and bring out the best talent from all across the country. Now we are identifying talent at a younger age and develop them further with right training and coaching. We started Golden Baby Leagues which broke all of the rules regarding availability of infrastructure and has received great response from young athletes across the country.

Mr. Rohan Sharma, President, Odisha FC, said: “Our goal has been to be able to encourage talent from all corners of the country and be able to bring them to the world. We partnered with the ASPIRE Academy with the intention to provide greater level of training for talented athletes and players like Shubham Sarangi have emerged from it. We have identified few more athletes this year to be trained and be the torchbearers of Odisha FC. We are sure in the times to come football will provide a platform for hundreds of young players and we have great expectations from them.

Mr. Mandar Tamhane, CEO, Bengaluru FC, said: “We introduced the Soccer School programmes across the State to encourage and promote the sport amongst the young kids. We adopt the talented kids and provide them with expert coaching and training. The future of the game is very bright and we are confident Football will soon become the most popular sport in the country.

Sports has been integral to Tata Steel’s philosophy of nation building. In India, Tata Steel as a corporate, spearheads the promotion of sports through its relentless and constant encouragement to professional sportspersons, amateurs, and its own employees to pursue sports and excel. Tata Steel has been consistently involved in creating and nurturing professional sportspersons through its academies and grassroots feeder centres.

About Tata Steel

Tata Steel group is among the top global steel companies with an annual crude steel capacity of 34 million tonnes per annum. It is one of the world's most geographically-diversified steel producers, with operations and commercial presence across the world. The group (excluding SEA operations) recorded a consolidated turnover of US $19.7 billion in the financial year ending March 31, 2020.

A Great Place to Work-CertifiedTM organisation, Tata Steel Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures, is spread across five continents with an employee base of over 65,000.

Tata Steel was recognised as DJSI steel sector leader in 2018 and has ranked fourth in the steel sector in 2019. Besides being a member of the worldsteel’s Climate Action Programme, Tata Steel has won several awards and recognitions including the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse recognition for its Kalinganagar Plant - a first in India, and Prime Minister’s Trophy for the best performing integrated steel plant for 2016-17. The Company, ranked as India’s most valuable Metals & Mining brand by Brand Finance, received the ‘Honourable Mention’ at the National CSR Awards 2019, Steel Sustainability Champion 2019 by worldsteel, CII Greenco Star Performer Award 2019, ‘Most Ethical Company’ award 2020 from Ethisphere Institute, and Best Risk Management Framework & Systems Award (2020) by CNBC TV-18, among several others.

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Statements in this press release describing the Company’s performance may be “forward looking statements” within the meaning of applicable securities laws and regulations. Actual results may differ materially from those directly or indirectly expressed, inferred or implied. Important factors that could make a difference to the Company’s operations include, among others, economic conditions affecting demand/ supply and price conditions in the domestic and overseas markets in which the Company operates, changes in or due to the environment, Government regulations, laws, statutes, judicial pronouncements and/ or other incidental factors.

Kulvin Suri

Chief, Corporate Communications-India & SEA

Tata Steel