AIFF announces minimum wage for women footballers | Football News
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Friday announced a revamp of the existing women’s football structure in India besides granting a minimum wage to those who compete in the Hero Indian Women’s League (IWL). Going forward, It will be mandatory for the top eight participating teams in the IWL to have a minimum of 10 Indian players on an annual contract worth a minimum of ₹3.2 lakhs, AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey said. The decision was taken at the federation’s executive committee meeting earlier in the day.
While the upcoming (2024-25) IWL season will have 10 teams in the top division followed by two other divisions, the 2025-26 season will have a four-tier league with the last tier being the state leagues across the country.
“We believe these decisions will attract more girls to play football and will help the growth of the women’s game. We want women’s football in India to reach the global level,” Chaubey said. Plans are also afoot to introduce a university league to run parallel with the IWL.
“We want to start with 8-16 teams. We are in touch with a host of private universities to be a part of this league and we are confident to start it this season. It will be an opportunity for our women footballers to be associated with a university and maybe enhance their education,” AIFF secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran said.
The senior men’s team, meanwhile, will have a busy international season starting with the Inter-Continental Cup in June till the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers in November and December.
The Merdeka Cup, an erstwhile regular feature in the men’s calendar, will be back this year alongside Kings Cup in Bangkok.
The AIFF has also decided to bar foreign players from participating in the I-League Division 2 along with prominent state leagues such as Calcutta Football League (CFL), and Goa League, Chaubey announced.
Additionally, the federation has set in motion Project Diamond, a player development programme for elite footballers in line with FIFA’s Talent Development Scheme (TDS). All development wings of Indian football, including those of ISL and Hero I-League clubs and elite academies, are expected to be a part of it. A FIFA delegation to chalk out the modalities of the project will arrive in India on May 3.
A comprehensive grassroots programme — Blue Cubs — was also launched with the aim of strengthening the senior men’s team. The programme will be conducted in collaboration with the government, NGOs, clubs and other entities. The AIFF also introduced a ten-team Institutional League for amateur teams that will be played on a home-and-away basis.
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