FIFA President Sepp Blatter looked very pleased on his second visit to India as he stated that the 'sleeping giant' is all but waking up..FIFA President Sepp Blatter arrived in India on Friday afternoon to inspect the footballing infrastructure of the country and to discuss a potential bid for the 2017 U-17 World Cup.
However, it came as a surprise when All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel 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 informed.
“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.”
“I understand that there are challenges and limitations as well. But we will overcome all for the cause of the sport.The two bids set a target for the AIFF and also the Government of India. We stay aware of the lack of good infrastructure at the moment. But I assure you, we will overcome all."
Patel also told Blatter that he would get all the bid papers before leaving the country.
"Mr. Blatter, I assure you will get all the bid papers before leaving India. The AIFF will put in its best efforts to get the two tournaments."
Blatter appeared rather pleased on his second visit to the country and stated that the country, that he had earlier termed as a "sleeping giant", is slowly waking up.
"To wake up a sleeping giant you need several alarm clocks. We have set up several alarm clocks to monitor them."
“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."
Blatter, however, did not commit on the two tournaments coming to India.
“FIFA stay a democratic setup. Both are positive developments no doubt. But it’s upto the FIFA Executive Committee to decide.”
He also had kind words for Praful Patel and congratulated him for his initiatives.
"I am happy with the governance of the AIFF and happy that the giant has slowly woken up. And I must thank Mr. Patel for his initiatives," he said.
Blatter also had a brief meeting with Indian President Pratibha Devi Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“The Prime Minister wants to see India as one of the Premier Footballing nations. Nothing can be more inspirational for Indian football.”
"There cannot be World Football without India."- he said.
On a very different note, Blatter discussed about the much debated issue of goal-line technology. He confirmed that the technology is likely to take effect from July 2.
"We have had several meetings with the International Football Association Board (IFAB), who are the custodian of the laws of the game. The technology is likely to come into effect by July 2. But it won't be compulsory and it will depend on the respective football association."
"Mr. Platini can have his objections but we have to embrace the technology. But the human face of the game should stay. We have to live with errors. After all, referees are an integral part of the game."
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