Category Archives: Sports

STAIRS School Football League Season 2 concludes amid loud cheer and unrelenting euphoria

Stairs School Football League (SSFL) Delhi – Season 2 culminated at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex in New Delhi today. The league which has emerged as the biggest talent spotting platform in the country will churn quality Indian footballers year after year. India’s largest flexible packaging company Uflex has pledged support to Stairs School Football League Delhi and recently Ahmedabad under its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives for the next 5 years.U 17 Boys

In its second season SSFL-Delhi witnessed active participation from over 6,000 children across 288 schools in the National Capital Region. Adhering to its widely acclaimed format, SSFL started with over 60 grassroots spotting camps across the four zones in Delhi. 592 matches were played in a span of 100 days engaging 288 teams. In a first, 32 girls’ teams also participated in SSFL Delhi – 2 squaring up the gender diversity. In this process STAIRS has shortlisted over 350 promising footballers for professional training. Over 150 underprivileged children including 52 girls were spotted and trained by STAIRS through the widely spread grassroots camps across Delhi.

Overall, 4 winning teams – one each from Under 14 Girls, Under 14 Boys, Under 17 Girls, Under 17 Boys lifted the majestic gold plated Champions Trophy while the runners-up received the grand Silver Trophy.  Both trophies are the running trophies and will remain with the winning teams’ school until the beginning of the SSFL 2016.

The ceremony also witnessed 20 promising players receiving the Golden Boot and Ball trophy. The individual prizes were given to 4 Best Strikers, 4 Best Defenders, 4 Best Goalkeepers , 4 Best Midfielders and 4 most promising players, one each for boys and girls in their respective age categories.

In attendance at the closing ceremony were Mr. Rajiv Yadav, Secretary (Sports), Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India along with Scott O’Donnell AIFF Technical Director and several other dignitaries.U 17 Girls

Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman & Managing Director, Uflex Limited in an official statement said, “Nothing bonds people better than sports bringing out all emotions to the fore. I am a firm believer that Sport is a medium that helps furthering the cause of national integration. It doesn’t get better than starting at early adolescence like SSFL does. The adrenaline rush on both sides builds up the real climax and then the best team wins. Winning or losing the game is not important, as long as true sportsmanship rules the roost. My organisation is in the business of flexible packaging and I exactly understand the merit of sports in packaging and shaping up the personalities of these budding sportspersons.

I am particularly elated to learn about the participation from girls. Today these children are creating miracles on Indian soil. Tomorrow they will win laurels for our country across the globe. This is just the beginning. I would like to congratulate all the participants of SSFL-Delhi, their family members and coaches for putting up a spectacular show over the last 100 days. Uflex is glad to have partnered with STAIRS for this meaningful endeavour and we look forward to more exciting and successful SSFL seasons in the years that follow.”

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Mr. Siddhartha Upadhyay, Founder and Secretary General, STAIRS said, “Today when the whole world is converging as a global village, SSFL is looked up to as one of the most promising football talent scouting platforms by clubs and bodies seeking to acquire talent right at early adolescence. While many officials and individuals from professional bodies keep their eyes on the budding players during the matches, selectors from international foreign clubs watch ‘live streaming’ of important matches and even call for recorded videos to assess the performance of promising players. Our efforts are focused at fulfilling children’s universal right to play; create opportunities for them to showcase their sporting talent and also nourish and nurture the promising players. The ultimate aim is to provide India with a pool of players who will ensure that we win at international competitions and make the whole country proud. In the process of scouting and training, the change in children’s personality, the positivity in their lives and the happiness that we are spreading are clearly the by-products of the engagement. It is extremely heartening to see the second season of SSFL being a whopping success. I assure that season 3 will bet yet better and bigger in all respects.”

Apart from the known changes that sports bring in the overall personality of children, SSFL ensures social mobility as multiple stakeholders – media, social foundations, corporate, educational institutions, and political decision makers – come together in support of a common goal.

The league also beholds a great economic significance as it opens economic opportunities for sports fraternity as well as many more ancillaries associated with the league.

After Delhi, Uflex extends support to Stairs School Football League – Ahmedabad

India’s largest flexible packaging company Uflex has pledged support to the Ahmedabad Chapter of Stairs School Football League (SSFL) for the next five years. SSFL is the biggest school football league in the country.

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Earlier this August, SSFL Delhi that entered into the second year was formally inaugurated with Uflex as a firm ally. The forum in its second year has gotten bigger and grander with participation confirmation from 288 schools comprising 32 girls’ teams and 256 boys’ teams. SSFL Delhi has engaged over 4,000 budding footballers in the city and the event will have witnessed nearly 600 matches before 2015 draws to a close, making it the biggest as well as the longest ever football league being played at the school level.

As the Chairman and Managing Director of Uflex Limited, Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi always says ‘Work that is for the larger good of the society must go on unhindered’, the organization is committed to replicate the success of SSFL Delhi in Ahmedabad as well. Notably SSFL has been conceptualized to identify football talent at early adolescence so that India could get some of the best players to take the country and the sport to the next level.

The fundamental objectives of SSFL include:

a) Transforming the sporting scenario at the grassroots,

b) Uprooting all obstacles confronting sporting talent at the hinterland and

c) Nurturing future champions and creating opportunities for them to excel

SSFL is a platform solely for the children under 14 and 17 years of age and exactly follows the FIFA World Cup format. It begins with league matches while the semi-final and final games are played at a central venue. All school teams intending to participate mandatorily have to go through the qualifier rounds.

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SSFL has evolved to become one of the most significant ‘talent spotting’ platforms for clubs and bodies seeking to acquire talent right at early adolescence. While many officials and individuals from professional bodies keep their eyes on the budding players during the matches, selectors from international foreign clubs watch ‘live streaming’ of important matches and even call for recorded videos to assess the performance of promising players.

Speaking at the Press Conference, Mr. R.K. Jain, Group President (Corp. F & A), Uflex Limited re-affirming CMD Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi’s commitment to build a cohesive nation through promotion of Sports at the grassroots level said:

“Today we are very happy to take our experience of SSFL Delhi to Ahmedabad which will only invigorate with time to bring out the best footballers in the country. The right to play has been enshrined as a Universal Right in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and we are glad Uflex is furthering the cause. Sports besides rendering a physically fit and mentally alert nation are imperative for national integration where children and youth come together and play it out on the field irrespective of their caste, creed, religion or socio-economic status. Such is the power of Sports and we must harness it to build Brand India.  

Supporting SSFL- Ahmedabad chapter is like a second homecoming. Uflex is already in the process of setting up at Sanand (Gujarat), first of its kind Aseptic Packaging plant for packing liquid products which is fully aligned with Government’s Make in India initiative. Supporting Sports endeavor in the State further doubles up our joy.”

 Interacting with the Media at the Press Conference held in the city, Mr. Siddhartha Upadhyay, Founder and Secretary General, STAIRS said “The Ahmedabad Chapter of Stairs School Football League, will provide an opportunity to over 5000 children in Gujarat to showcase their football talent. The inaugural year will be totally dedicated towards scouting talent considering World Cup under 17 that will be held in India in 2017.

I am thankful to Uflex for its continued support to the initiative that will empower the children and youth of the state much like it would bolster the sport itself. This will inspire the children to play the sport with truest sportsmanship and even opt it as a career.”

Team SSFL in Gujarat to assess footballing opportunities at grassroots

After a great success of STAIRS School Football League in Delhi, Team STAIRS is planning to launch the same in Gujarat. The idea is to engage over 10,000 budding footballers at the grassroots and create an opportunity for the promising ones to showcase their talent to the mentors.

Team STAIRS has initiated the process of conducting the baseline survey across Gujarat to understand the overall sporting culture across various regions of the state as well as the popularity of football amongst teenagers. The team will closely monitor the activities of school-going teens as well as school dropouts and unschooled to create hypothesis on how football intervention can bring about the behavioural change amongst the youth of the state.

The team will also evaluate the impact and the scale of the ongoing sports activities as also the existing sports infrastructure and facilities available in the state. Findings from its surveys and secondary research will be shared with the concerned authorities in the government as well as the sports fraternity with ideas and suggestions for developments of sports vis-à-vis overall growth of the youth in the state.

“There is a lot of good work happening across the country for development of sports at the grassroots. The governments, former players as well as several non-profits are making a true impact. However, as much as you do, there will always be a need to do a bit more, improve further and make a little better impact. That is what SSFL does. The idea of the league is to add value to the existing works of the government, the sports fraternity and other stakeholders. SSFL is a platform that optimally utilizes the available resources, engages footballers for nearly nine months, and delivers some of the most promising footballers from the grassroots,” said Mr Siddhartha Upadhyay, founder and secretary general, STAIRS.

“In its second year in Delhi, SSFL has more than doubled in scale and is being appreciated by all stakeholders. As it has become the first step towards professional football, it is being endorsed by some of the senior government officials and celebrity sportsmen. We are hoping to be able to replicate the model in Gujarat and provide opportunity to those hidden talents somewhere in the remote towns of the state, added Upadhyay.

The STAIRS team in Gujarat will also be meeting the leading corporate groups to discuss support possibilities under their corporate social responsibility (CSR). The new Companies Act 2013, that mandates large companies to spend on CSR has a clause under the Schedule VII that states the spend towards development of recognized sport qualifies as the CSR spend of the company. With over 14,000 companies falling under the ambit of the mandatory law, there lays a great potential to develop sports at the grassroots.

The Uflex Group is primarily supporting SSFL in Delhi while Max India Foundation has associated with the same as healthcare partners and has taken responsibility of injury or other medical emergencies that may occur during the league. Several other credible organizations have also engaged with the league to offer various services.

Uflex felicitates 130 budding footballers chosen from over 4,000 children across Delhi

Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman and Managing Director of Uflex, India’s largest flexible packaging company, felicitated 130 budding footballers spotted and chosen from over 4,000 children across Delhi.

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The spotting and selection of these chosen children was done at SSFL Grassroots camps that were organized by STAIRS with support from Uflex. The objective of the camps was to -

a) Engage as many children as possible with football to build a football culture at the grassroots,

b) Select a few promising players and provide them with professional training, and

c) Give them an opportunity to showcase their talent at SSFL, the first step towards professional football.

The selected players will form eight teams of STAIRS that include two girls teams in age groups under-14 and under-17 and four boys teams – two each for the same age groups.

The felicitation ceremony took place at Uflex factory in Noida, where children spentquality time with Mr Ashok Chaturvediand updated him about the fun and the learning experiences they had at the SSFL Grassroots camps.

Speaking on the occasion, Ashok Chaturvedisaid, “I am pleased to see such a large number of children taking up sports at the grassroots. I was especially amazed to see the confidence of the girls’ teams, I am sure it has been built while practicing football. It feels really great to see how our efforts to build sporting culture at the grassroots, in association with Team STAIRS, are really making a difference. The idea is to positively channelize the tremendous energy and potential that these children have and sports is the best way to do that. I am extremely happy that we are supporting such a noble cause.”

Mr Siddhartha Upadhyay, Founder and Secretary General, STAIRS, said, “I thank Mr Ashok Chaturvedi and Team Uflex for felicitating the young talent that we have carefully nurtured over the years. With Uflex deciding to support SSFL for five years, I am sure we will be able to achieve our goal of fulfilling every child’s right to play.”

The STAIRS School Football League (SSFL) will be officially launched on 26 August 2015 at Thyagraj Sports Complex, New Delhi. The idea of the event is to boost the footballing culture among young children. The event is solely meant for the children under 14 years and under 17 years of age and follows the exact FIFA World Cup format. It will begin with league matches at over 10 different venues across four zones in Delhi while the semi-final and final games will be played at the central venue. All the school teams intending to participate also have to go through the qualifier rounds.

The league has become one of the most significant ‘talent spotting’ platforms for clubs and bodies seeking to acquire talent at an early age. While many officials and individuals from professional bodies keep their eyes on the budding players during the matches, selectors from international foreign clubs watch ‘live streaming’ of important matches and even call for recorded videos to see performance of promising players.

In the first edition of SSFL last year, over 500 schools had applied and only 128 of them could qualify to participate in the league and the number is expected to double in this edition.

STAIRS also fields four teams (two each in under-14 and under-17) that get a wild card entry to the event as they are selected through spotting camps across Delhi and then trained by professionals.

This year’s STAIRS team comprises of boys chosen out of over 6,000 players from across Delhi. Last year, the STAIRS team had ranked fourth in the tournament.

Uflex extends support to SSFL for the next five years

With an aim to strengthen the sports ecosystem and build football culture at the grassroots, Uflex Ltd, as a part of its corporate social responsibility, has committed itself to support Stairs School Football League (SSFL). Uflex had associated with the league in 2014 and with this year’s support it has extended its commitment for the next five years.

“We believe that without sports, the personality development of a child would be incomplete. Our association with SSFL will help in providing a complete ‘personality package’ to the children. While we are into the business of flexible packaging, socially our focus is to provide holistic personality package to the torchbearers of tomorrow through sports.  We are committed to develop sports at the grassroots. We strongly believe that sports can tremendously contribute to the overall development of not just the children but the entire community for that matter. Being free to play is the universal right of every child. Our support to SSFL is a step towards ensuring that children in Delhi get free access to play football at some of the best sporting facilities across the state. . We believe that this initiative will give a tremendous boost to the sport by identifying, supporting and nurturing talent right from early adolescence.

I was amazed to learn that 288 schools are participating in one league, making it the biggest school-level league in India. Moreover, with participation of 32 girls’ teams, it becomes one-of-its-kind football tournament that also propagates ‘gender parity’, which is a must for the growth of our country. I congratulate Team STAIRS in achieving this scale and wish them good luck in this timely and meaningful initiative,” said Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman and Managing Director, Uflex Group.

Uflex Group also supports some of the other grassroots sports focused initiatives in several other states across the country.

“I am thankful to Uflex Group for encouraging our efforts and standing by the initiative. The support will help us making an impact that the country desires to see. One of the fundamental reasons for Indian football not being able to make a mark in the international circuit is that the country is not being able to produce skilled footballers from the grassroots. We have plenty of talented children in Delhi schools alone, but they hardly get a platform to showcase their talent and stay motivated to pursue their career in

the game. SSFL not only provides a platform to these children to present and hone their skills, but also acts as a first step towards professional football. We ensure that a promising player spotted here is nurtured, trained, motivated and gets enough support to be able to make a mark. The fundamental objective of every step we take at STAIRS is to create a holistic sporting environment for children,” said Siddhartha Upadhyay, Founder and Secretary General, STAIRS.

“We are hoping to see more corporate groups coming forward to support us in taking SSFL across the length and breadth of India. The support we seek is not just in terms of financial contribution for programmes, but also through partnerships wherein each partner adds some value to the initiative or takes care of one aspect of the programme, be it logistics, communication, outreach or healthcare”, added Upadhyay.

The STAIRS School Football League (SSFL) will be officially launched on 26 August 2015 at Thyagraj Sports Complex, New Delhi. The idea of the event is to boost the football culture among young children. The event is solely meant for the children under 14 years and under 17 years of age and follows the t FIFA World Cup format. It will begin with league matches at over 10 different venues across four zones in Delhi while the semi-final and final games will be played at the central venue. All the school teams intending to participate also have to go through the qualifier rounds.

The league has become one of the most significant ‘talent spotting’ platforms for clubs and bodies seeking to acquire talent at an early age. While many officials and individuals from professional bodies keep their eyes on the budding players during the matches, selectors from international foreign clubs watch ‘live streaming’ of important matches and even call for recorded videos to assess the performance of promising players.

In the first edition of SSFL last year, over 500 schools had applied out of which only 128 could qualify to participate in the league. The number is expected to double this time around. STAIRS also fields six teams (under-14 and under-17) that get a wild card entry to the event as they are selected through spotting camps across Delhi and then trained by professionals. This year’s STAIRS team comprises players chosen out of a wide array of over 4,000 sportspersons from across Delhi. Last year, the STAIRS team had ranked fourth in the tournament.