The All India Football Federation intends to host the Santosh Trophy National Championships' knockout rounds in Saudi Arabia early the next year, which is an unusual action.
In order to "explore the feasibility to hold the final phases of the Santosh Trophy" in the West Asian nation in February 2023," AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey and Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with their Saudi Arabian counterparts on Thursday.
"The idea is to host the knockout phase of Santosh Trophy in select cities of Saudi to encourage State level players to dream big and also to connect large Indian community in Saudi with Indian football and create a win-win situation for both the Federations," the AIFF said in a release.
"The agreement comes as part of the efforts of SAFF and AIFF not only to enhance cooperation among key strategic partners in Asia but also to offer the opportunity to consolidate stronger bonds through football and culture between the large Indian Communities based in Saudi Arabia and Indian football."
Yasser Al-Mishal, president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), and Ibrahim Al Kassim, general secretary, signed the contract on behalf of the West Asian nation. The deal was inked in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
"The agreement will allow a wide range of activations, including the provision of technical support, the organization, and hosting of youth competitions for both men and women on a regular basis, as well as exchange of football and governance experts."