Odisha State Government, the benevolent supporter of national hockey, has pledged ₹5 crore in an initiative to promote Indian football at the junior level. Part of the deal will go towards sponsorship of the Indian Arrows – the colts, who play in the I League, who represented India in the Under-17 World Cup at home last year.
The principal sponsors of the Indian national hockey teams, the State of Odisha has created a history for the club football in the country with its deal to sponsor I-League Club Indian Arrow. The partnership will also cover the training and support to Indian Under-15 football team.
The State will facilitate the Indian Arrows and Under-15 teams’ training at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, national daily Times of India has reported. The sponsorship agreement includes the expenses for the teams’ stay, training, boarding and lodging at Bhubaneswar.
To facilitate the Under-15 team’s training, the All India Football Federation has shifted its regional academy from in Goa to Bhubaneswar. “It’s heartening to have the State Government on board as a sponsor. The support will definitely help the two teams. We have also come to know that the Goa government is helping the Churchill Brothers club with a ₹3 crore financial grant,” AIFF senior vice-president Subrata Dutta had told Times Of India.
Arrows have already shifted their training base from Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru (JLN) stadium to Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga ground, resulting in the Capital hosting no I-League matches this season.
Arrows will play all their home matches in Bhubaneswar, barring the three games coinciding with time of the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar (Nov 28 – Dec 16), when they will shift to Cuttack’s Barabati stadium.
Earlier this year, the Odisha government became the official sponsor of the Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams for the next five years.
The State of Odisha is also playing the host to the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar this year from November 16 to December 6.