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Saturday, March 10, 2012

FIFA president Sepp Blatter for India's U-17 WC bid


FIFA president Sepp Blatter for India's U-17 WC bid
"India has a very good chance as of now to host the tournament as it will give them an entry into the elite league and also will allow its U-17 team to play as a host nation," said FIFA president Sepp Blatter. (PTI Photo)

NEW DELHI: A day before his 75birthday, FIFA president Sepp Blatter visited India with a gift in mind. The most important member of the planet's football family emphasized that he wants to see India as a very important player in international football and hosting the U-17 World Cup will be a step towards it.

The FIFA president met President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit on Friday, discussed with the PM development of football in the country. He, apparently, got an assurance of all support in case India wins the bid to host the 2017 U-17 World Cup.

Addressing a press conference on Friday evening, All India Football Federation president Praful Patel announced that India will be bidding for U-17 event and the Club World Cup in 2015.

Blatter endorsed it, saying, "India has a very good chance as of now to host the tournament as it will give them an entry into the elite league and also will allow its U-17 team to play as a host nation." Blatter didn't forget to add that "India must start working with an U-12 squad right away who will be playing in 2017."

In his address, the AIFF president confessed that there were a lot of shortcomings that the federation has to overcome, but added, "our effort is genuine." And when Blatter was reminded of his famous comment that "India is a sleeping giant," the Swiss said, "To wake up a giant, you need more than one alarm clock. With the new president , I can assure you the giant is no longer sleeping." The AIFF president, sitting next to him, hopefully received the point well.

Among the bids, the Club World Cup will be the tougher one to win for India. If India does get it, then Blatter said India's champion club will play . However, the FIFA president expressed his displeasure over the functioning of the I-League , which is "yet to reach the desired level."

On Lionel Messi: 

When I started off as a journalist, I followed Pele in 1958. Messi is right up there. Over the years I have seen great players like Franz BeckenbauerJohan Cruyff who were my contemporaries . My personal favourite was Alfredo di Stefano. And now it's the time of Cristiano and Messi. I feel, Messi is not only exceptional, he is a very nice boy. As of now, he is the best.

On goal-line technology: 

The FIFA president feels very strongly about the introduction of goal-line technology especially after 2010 World Cup where Frank Lampard's goal was disallowed against Germany. "I do not want the incident to be repeated but technology should be restricted to goal decisions only."