Maharashtra legislators play soccer to promote Mission Xi Million ahead of Under-17 FIFA World Cup


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    10 lakh school students will be playing soccer to raise awareness about Under-17 World Cup.

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    The match between Speaker’s XI and Chairman’s XI teams ended in a 2-2 draw.

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    Fadnavis had the audience in splits with his tongue-in-cheek commentary, witty one-liners.

Maharashtra legislators across party lines took part in a football match organised in the parking lot outside the state assembly on Thursday. The occasion was to launch Mission Xi Million to promote the Under-17 FIFA World Cup, to be held for the first time in India in October.  

And just like legislators argue over issues inside the Assembly, AIMIM MLA Imtiaz Jalil and NCP MLC Narendra Patil were seen exchanging words in the middle of this football match.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis inaugurated the event. Apart from MLAs and MLCs, Ministers Sambhaji Nilangekar and Jai Kumar Rawal too could be seen sweating it out on the field. The participants were divided into two teams, namely Speaker’s XI and Chairman’s XI.

And as the legislators were dribbling and kicking the ball on the field, Fadnavis had the audience in splits with his tongue-in-cheek commentary and witty one-liners.

“This match is being organised to promote Mission XI Million. As many as 10 lakh school students will be playing football to raise awareness about the Under-17 World Cup football tournament in India”, said Sports Minister Vinod Tawde.


The legislators who did not play the match cheered for their teams, including Speaker Hari Bhau Bagde, Upper House Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar, Leaders of Opposition Dhananjay Munde and Radhakrishna Vikhe, former CM Prithviraj Chavhan, Ministers Pankaja Munde and Girish Mahajan among others.

The match ended in a draw with both teams scoring 2 goals each.

“I have played football as a college student. It was a great feeling taking to the football field after years”, said Tourism Minister Jai kumar Rawal.

“Football requires great mental and physical endurance. And it’s always a great pleasure to play a match. We scored 2 goals and hoped we would win”, said Mumbai BJP chief and MLA Ashish Shelar.

However, the match also triggered a controversy as Congress MLA Amar Kale objected to the match being organised during the working hours of the legislative session. “There is scanty rainfall in some parts of the state. Farmers are facing difficult times. I am not against conducting sports events. But the House must have discussed farmers issues as tomorrow (Friday) is the last day of the session. Instead of playing a football match, we should have discussed farmer issues today”, Kale said.


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