FIFA president Sepp Blatter says he is committed to developing football in India, calling the country a ‘sleeping giant’ of the sport.
Blatter visited the south Asian country to inspect football infrastructure and discuss a potential bid for the 2017 under-17 World Cup.
All India Football Federation president Praful Patel also launched the country’s bid to host the prestigious 2015 Club World Cup along with the 2017 U-17 World Cup in the presence of the FIFA president.
“India are staging a serious bid to host the U-17 World Cup in 2017,” Mr. Patel announced.
“Apart from that, we would also bid to host the 2015 World Club Cup. Both the tournaments would provide an excellent opportunity for our players to rub shoulders with the best of the world.”
On his second visit to India, Blatter expressed enthusiasm about the potential for developing the sport across the world’s second-most populous country.
“To wake up a sleeping giant you need several alarm clocks. We have set up several alarm clocks to monitor them,” Blatter said.
“I have been closely following the development of football in India. The FIFA Development Office is presently based in Delhi and the setting up of the Regional and the Elite Academies are a step in the right direction.”
“I am in my 30th year in FIFA and 13th year as the president. My tenure ends in 2015 but I won’t leave FIFA until I see the sport established in the sub-continent of India.”