With less than three months to go for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which would be held in India, Union minister Arun Jaitley today urged various government institutions to hold sporting events, so that the country could connect to the global popularity of football.
He was addressing the gathering at the closing ceremony of 'Oorja 2017 - CAPF U-19 Football Talent Hunt Tournament' at the J L Nehru Stadium here.
"I congratulate the winners of this tournament, organised under the aegis of the All India Police Sports Control Board.
These tournaments themselves become a nursery of sports and therefore, if like the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), other institutions can also organise such events, it will help identify and blossom domestic talent," said Jaitley.
The Union finance minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision was to use the FIFA platform to take football to all corners of the country.
"India is hosting the FIFA (U-17) World Cup this year and though our country is faring well on the rankings, we still have a long way to go. The popularity of football is growing around the world and such tournaments would help India connect to it," he added.
The FIFA U-17 World Cup is scheduled to kick off in October.
Jaitley felicitated the winners of the tournament -- the Punjab team in the boys section which defeated Karnataka today in a penalty shoot-out. In the girls segment, Manipur had lifted the trophy yesterday.
Nearly 1,200 matches were played in three stages of the tournament over the last two months, said officials.
The Central Armed Police Forces include the BSF, SSB, ITBP, CISF and CRPF. The Assam Rifles was also part of the organisers.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, the chiefs of various paramilitary forces and singer Sukhwinder Singh, who lent his voice to the Oorja anthem, were also present on the occasion.