AIFF Records Historic Surge in Women’s Football Registrations, Up 138% in 21 Months

In a groundbreaking development for Indian football, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has reported an unprecedented 138% increase in women’s player registrations over the past two years. This surge not only underscores the growing popularity of the sport but also signals a significant rise in the number of young female athletes embracing football as a professional pursuit.

According to data from the AIFF Central Registration System (CRS), the number of registered female footballers in India has skyrocketed to 27,936 as of March 2024, marking a remarkable surge from the 11,724 recorded in June 2022.

Kalyan Chaubey, President of AIFF, credited this remarkable growth to a series of initiatives implemented in the current season, notably the introduction of the second-tier competition, the Indian Women’s League (IWL-2). “It’s a very positive trend we are witnessing in India,” remarked Chaubey in a statement released by AIFF. “To have as many as 16,212 new female players in our football ecosystem is an encouraging sign that we are on the right track in our planning for women’s football in India.”

Chaubey also highlighted the role of live broadcast in bolstering the sport’s profile, noting its contribution to increased visibility and engagement among fans.

The IWL, which saw Gokulam Kerala FC clinch their third consecutive title in the 2022-23 season, underwent format changes in the subsequent season to a ‘home-and-away’ structure, garnering praise from clubs, players, and supporters alike. Odisha FC emerged victorious in the 2023-24 season, ending Gokulam Kerala FC’s three-year dominance and earning the opportunity to represent India in the AFC continental competition.

The inaugural edition of IWL-2 featured 15 clubs at the group stage, with six teams qualifying for the final round slated to take place next month in Kolkata. Additionally, India boasts 24 active State Leagues for women’s football, serving as the third tier of the football pyramid and contributing significantly to the sport’s grassroots development.

Kalyan Chaubey emphasized the concerted efforts made by AIFF in prioritizing women’s football, highlighting the significant strides taken in recent months. “The current season marks a breakthrough year for Indian football,” Chaubey affirmed. “We are witnessing rapid growth in women’s football, with players and clubs benefitting from increased game time and competitiveness in the domestic circuit.”

Looking ahead, Chaubey reiterated AIFF’s commitment to placing a heightened focus on women’s football, emphasizing its continued importance in the federation’s long-term plans.

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