Aiming to make Delhi a "model football state" by 2021, Shaji Prabhakaran, a former regional development officer with the FIFA, will contest for the post of president in the upcoming Delhi Soccer Association elections. The elections are scheduled to be held on November 19 and Prabhakaran's opponent is 69-year-old DSA veteran Sharafatullah. In the event Sharafatullah wins, he will have to relinquish the post within a year as per the Sports Code's 70 -year-old age cap for office bearers. Prabhakaran, who has also worked as senior consultant at Asian Football Confederation after his long association with the AIFF, has released his manifesto. "Our vision is to transform Delhi football and make it a model state for the sport in India by 2021," Prabhakaran said today. "If I win we would look to appoint a professional general secretary and technical director by early next year," added Prabhakaran who runs the recently-launched Delhi United Football Club. As per the manifesto, team Shaji's focus is on financial stability in the DSA and generate income, initiate reform and bring good governance, infrastructure partnership and restructuring of the competitions. The veteran administrator is hoping that Delhi would become strong enough to win the national championship by 2021.
Other goals include launching U-11/13 grassroots leagues and women's league by September 2018. If all goes according to the plan, team Shaji will launch an elite competition called Delhi Football Premier League by October 2018. That would be followed by the launch of inter- club/academy U-15 and U-17 youth league by December 2018. Prabhakaran also envisions starting a structured grassroots programme by February 2018, establish scouting networks and sign commercial partners/sponsors. He plans to launch a four-year Delhi Football Strategic Plan by January end next year. While there could be substantial increase in prize money as per the manifesto, registration fee for clubs has been fixed at Rs 25 lakh. A task force would be formed to identify minimum 15 grounds for clubs by April 2018.
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