Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday encouraged the youth of the valley to take part in sports, while assuring them of support with money, infrastructure and jobs.
He showered praises on Real Kashmir FC, saying the performance of the football club had raised his hopes for a bright future for sports in the country.
“The arrival of Real Kashmir FC, the way it is playing, has raised hopes…. I am not talking about the Olympics, but I am sure it will go higher in the days to come,” Malik said at a sports event here.
The Real Kashmir Football Club and the Jammu and Kashmir Police played an exhibition match against each other at the Border Security Force (BSF) camp at Ploura. Both the teams were declared joint winners of the match, which was organised by the Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council in collaboration with the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
After the match, the governor handed over a cheque of Rs two crore to the management of Real Kashmir FC and a cheque of Rs 10 lakh to the police team.
On January 14, the State Administrative Council (SAC), headed by the governor, had sanctioned a Rs two-crore financial aid for Real Kashmir FC for a period of three years, beginning 2018-19.
Within two years of its formation, the team has qualified for the top-tier Hero I-League. The performance of the club in its debut appearance in the league this season has been impressive. It currently occupies the second spot in the league table among 11 teams with seven matches to go.
“We have decided to give Rs two crore to Real Kashmir FC every year to boost the morale of the team. Not only that, the Kashmiri children who will come forward and excel in other sports will also be given full support like money, facilities and jobs,” Malik said.
The governor, who watched the match, also lauded the police team for its performance.
For its performance, Real Kashmir has been gaining in popularity among the youth of the state. In the matches played in the Kashmir Valley recently, more than 25,000 people turned up regularly to cheer for their favourite team.
Real Kashmir is financially not in a position to meet the players” expenditure, including the expenses on training, travelling, boarding and lodging, prompting the governor to intervene and accordingly, the SAC approved the grant for a period three years to the club.
The SAC has also directed the department of Youth Services and Sports to formulate a proposal, in consultation with the finance department, for providing grants to the sports teams from the state, which will qualify for the top-level national leagues in cricket, hockey, kabaddi and badminton.