FIFA President Gianni Infantino to attend Santosh Trophy Finals in Arunachal

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In a historic development, FIFA President Gianni Infantino is set to grace the finals of the Santosh Trophy in Arunachal Pradesh in March next year. The prestigious tournament, which will now be known as the FIFA Santosh Trophy, will be held on March 9 or 10, 2024.

Santosh Trophy has been held every year since 1941. The tournament is a state-level national football competition contested by state teams, and it is a showcase for the best talent in Indian football.

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Arunachal Pradesh, one of the most rapidly developing Northeast states is home to a growing football culture. The state government has invested substantially in developing sports infrastructure in recent years.

All India Football Federation has mentored 18,000 schoolchildren across 100 schools in the state, underlining the state’s dedication toward grassroots-level sports development. The hosting of the Santosh Trophy finals is a major milestone for Arunachal Pradesh football.

The presence of FIFA President Infantino at the final round of the Santosh Trophy will be a major boost for Indian football. Infantino is a passionate advocate for the development of football in all parts of the world, and his visit will send a strong message of support to the Indian football community. Prior to assuming the role of FIFA President, Infantino held the position of general secretary at the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

Earlier this year, the APFA, headed by its President and Chief Minister Pema Khandu, had sent an invitation to the FIFA President Infantino. AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey confirmed the information during an executive committee meeting in New Delhi on Thursday.

Thanking Kalyan Chaubey for his efforts in getting Infantino’s acceptance for the event, Arunachal CM Pema Khandu writes on X, “Arunachal Pradesh is all excited to welcome FIFA President Mr Gianni Infantino during the final round of Santosh Trophy scheduled to be held in Feb-March 2024 in the state. Thank you AIFF President Shri Kalyan Chaubey ji for your all efforts in ensuring our collective dream becomes a reality.

The state government is making elaborate arrangements for the finals which is expected to attract a large number of spectators from all over India. The government is also planning to organize a series of cultural events and festivals to coincide with the tournament.

In a simultaneous development, it has been reported that Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development and a distinguished coach, is scheduled to make a visit to India later this month. Chaubey is optimistic that Wenger’s presence will mark the beginning of a new phase in India’s youth development initiatives and projects, underscoring the potential positive influence on the nation’s football scene.

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