Bhubaneswar, November 21: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, alongside FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development Arsene Wenger, inaugurated the AIFF-FIFA Talent Academy at the Kalinga Stadium here on Tuesday.
The inaugural event was held during the India vs Qatar encounter at Round 2 of the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027 Joint qualification campaign.
This is a major initiative to boost football development in India.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and FIFA are partnering with Government of Odisha in establishing this academy. At least 50 talented football players in the under 14 years category will be selected for the academy from across the country, including 15 Odisha players.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said, “There is lot of talent in football in India & with proper coaching facilities, the Indian team can perform very well in future.”
Expressing happiness over Odisha Government’s partnership with FIFA and AIFF to create academies, CM Patnaik said, “Odisha will support football projects and work in close collaboration with AIFF for football promotion in India.”
Sports and Youth Services Minister Tusharkanti Behera, Chief of Global Football Development at FIFA, Arsene Wenger, 5T Chairman VK Pandian, Sports and Youth Services Department Secretary Vineel Krishna were present on the occasion.