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Arsene Wenger to visit India in October to finalise setting-up of central football academy for U-13 boys and girls

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Legendary coach Arsene Wenger, who is currently FIFA Chief of Global Football Development, is set to visit India in the second week of October to finalise the setting-up of a central academy in the country, All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Kalyan Chaubey said on Saturday.

The academy for the U-13 boys and girls will be a joint collaboration of the FIFA and the AIFF.

“I am glad to say that we are on the verge of setting up a state-of-the-art centralised academy in India, along with FIFA, with Mr. Arsène Wenger playing a key role in the whole setup,” Chaubey said in a release from the AIFF.

“I am sure that with his experience and our industriousness, we can set the ball rolling for India to produce future stars.”

Chaubey and AIFF Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran met Wenger, FIFA Technical Director Steven Martens and Head of High-Performance Programmes Ulf Schott in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday.

The academy will not function in a standalone manner, rather it will be supported by around four or five other feeder academies, thus making it a network, the AIFF said.

Wenger is expected to make an official announcement of the same via a virtual press conference in September, following which, he is set to come to India in the second week of October to work on all other details of the proposed academy, Chaubey said.

“The U-13 Youth League and Sub-Junior National Championships will play an important role in spotting talents and setting up the academies. We want to provide more opportunities to our member associations and youngsters as well to organise themselves for the state-level trials so that each state association can field their best possible team for the U-13 Youth League.”

Prabhakaran, on his part, said Wenger will have a significant impact on developing elite players in India.

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