New Delhi:Football's profile in the country needs to be improved and more effort required from the AIFF if a player is to get Arjuna Awards in future, All India Football Federation acting president Praful Patel said on Wednesday.
Three footballers - Mahesh Gawli, Climax Lawrence and Deepak Mondal - were nominated for this year's Arjuna Awards and none is expected to be included in the list to be announced by the Sports Ministry.
"Football needs improvement in popularity in the country.
It is popular but lacking in terms of people watching matches in television," Patel said when asked why footballers have not received the national sports awards for a long time.
"They deserve to get the awards, that is why we have nominated them. But we (the federation) have to push the government more if our players are to get the awards," he told reporters after AIFF's emergency committee meeting.
Patel thanked the government for chipping in with the '2011 Goal Project', which aims at a good result from the national team in the 2011 Asian Cup in Doha.
"We thank the Ministry for helping us financially in the project which is important for us. We are doing our bit and if the government chips in it will make our job easier," he said.
Asked about plans to revive women's football after the national team was delisted from the FIFA rankings due to inactivity since October 2007, Patel said an ad-hoc committee will be formed to look into how the standard of women's football could be improved.
"It was unfortunate that the national women's team have been taken off the FIFA list. We have decided to form an ad-hoc committee. Eventually elections will be held to form a full-fledged committee," he said.