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AIFF Youth Leagues set to start next month, over 50 teams to participate

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The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Friday said it will kick off its ambitious Youth Leagues in the second week of December, beginning the competition in the U-17 category.

In order to ensure fair play, the AIFF said it will conduct TW3 Tests for the U-13 and U-15 Youth Leagues, starting in January, as part of a strategy to tackle age fraud.

Over 50 teams are expected to participate, with direct entry granted to sides from the Indian Super League (ISL), I-League, I-League 2 and elite academies with AIFF accreditation.

The first round of AIFF academy accreditation was completed with 30 academies from the elite category getting the grade on the basis of various criteria fulfilled.

The criteria included factors such as residential setup, technical and administration staff, medical and education provisions and other important requirements. The advanced and basic criteria accreditation will be completed subsequently.

The AIFF also plans to conduct surprise inspections for the accredited academies, and any discrepancies or non-compliance towards the criteria as per the accreditation policy may lead to the stripping of the their accreditation.

AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey said, “This year, the leagues have been slightly delayed. After three years, the Junior and Sub-Junior National Football Championships Tier 1 and 2 for boys and girls were organised.

“Now, we are going to kickstart the national youth leagues, for which more than 30 academies have been accredited after checking all their parameters. Along with them, the I-League and the ISL junior teams will also be taking part.

“We will be starting with the U17 league first, followed by the U15 and U13. There will be spotters in most of the games of U13 leagues, to identify talents.”

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