New Delhi, July 19 Having a women's team has been made compulsory as part of the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) licensing criteria for clubs, the federation's General Secretary Kushal Das said. Das added that for now, it is only for licences below B level but he hopes that it will be expanded in the future.
"In our licensing criteria, we have put in a criteria for the clubs that they must have a women's team. Although it's not in the A or B level, at least it's a beginning. Hopefully, like our youth development program, which started off slowly, then picked up the pace and is now doing quite well, the same thing will happen with women's football and more and more clubs will field teams in our national competition the IWL," he said in an AIFF release.
India will be hosting the FIFA Women's U-17 World Cup. Originally scheduled to be held from November 2 to 21, the tournament has since been postponed to February 17 to March 7 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I think clubs should realise that women's football is a very important area," said Das.
"There is a lot of focus from the federation on women's football. I think the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2021 will help (in that regard) as will the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022. But, the clubs should understand that it is important to focus on women's football and have a team playing in the IWL (Indian Women's League)."
The IWL completed its fourth season in 2019/20 and 12 teams competed in the tournament. Gokulam Kerala, whose men's side compete in the I-League, were crowned champions after they beat Manipur-based side KRYPHSA in the final.
( With inputs from IANS )