Hindustan Times Group brings back the Great Indian Football Action

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media | October 04, 2016
The neighbourhood football tournament for kids, now in its third season, was started by the English daily Hindustan Times to bring communities together and encourage a healthy outdoor lifestyle.

While the digital revolution has made it possible for kids and adults to remain connected with each other round the clock, the flip side is that it has disconnected us from the real world. This is what led the Hindustan Times Group to come up with the HT GIFA, the Great Indian Football Action, an inter-condominium (RWA) football tournament for kids conducted in Delhi-NCR, two years ago.

This year, the opening ceremony of the third season of the Hindustan Times Great Indian Football Action (GIFA) was held at the Thyagaraj Stadium on September 24. The event was kick-started by Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar who is known for his inclination towards adventure, fitness, and sports. The first match was held on October 1.

Hindustan Times Great Indian Football Action Website

With the idea to emphasise on the importance of sports and fitness in the current digital age, HT GIFA was initiated in the year 2014. It claims to be the first-of-its-kind inter-locality football tournament which provides a platform for kids and families to step outside and have a chance to interact, stay fit, and establish a connection with people in their area through sports.

Sharing his views on the tournament, Ashu Phakey, GIFA brand ambassador and business head, HT Delhi, says, "HT GIFA was started as a small community initiative, and in just two years, it has become the country's largest neighbourhood football tournament. Our Prime Minister, in his Mann Ki Baat address, spoke about the need to take football to every neighbourhood across India. HT GIFA is a step in that direction and we hope to encourage the youth to come out and play more."

Vineet Relia, managing director, Sare Homes, the presenting sponsor of HT GIFA 2016, adds, "Sare Homes believes in offering experiences to learn through play and is happy to team up with HT GIFA that provides a unique platform for children to show their talent."

Sanjeev Handa

Unveiling the trophy, Sanjeev Handa, vice-president and marketing head, Maruti Suzuki India, says, "Today's youth connects well with football and our brand also supports it. It is not just here at HT GIFA, we also support football at ISL."

To spice up the football training, HT GIFA partnered with Arsenal Soccer Schools. This year, the event was open to teams from Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, and Ghaziabad. It received around 2,300 team registrations in the senior and junior categories. The matches will be conducted over two weekends in a knockout format with seven players on each side. Each match will last for 30 minutes.

In the last season, around 450 teams participated in HT GIFA across Delhi and Gurgaon. Owing to its growing popularity, the tournament was opened to kids from Noida and Ghaziabad this season.

HT GIFA (Great Indian Football Action) is an inter-condominium (RWA) football tournament for kids conducted in the Delhi-NCR region. It is open to kids from Classes 5-8 in the junior category and Classes 9-12 in the senior category. The event, which took off in Gurgaon (with 46 teams participating) two years ago, claims to be the most engaging B2C initiative undertaken by a media house.

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