India can be the number one football loving and watching nation in the world – Praful Patel

The Indian FA president believes that the popularity of the beautiful game amongst the youth in India is on the rise…

Praful Patel, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president, stated that in future we could see some of the top names in the sport plying their trade in India should the right platform be created.

“Today, the youth of India, of whom we all keep talking about, every two out of three or three out of four children in the 25 and below bracket following a sport is either watching EPL, or UEFA or La Liga or Bundesliga or whatever Liga is available in the world for the simple reason that they are so fascinated that they know all about every game and every player and what's happening across the world.

“So I'm sure, if you give that platform to India, I think it won't be far when all these big names will also be playing at least partly in India,” he mentioned at the FICCI Goal India Convention.

He cited the example of cricket and as to how the dynamics have changed over the last decade or so with India being at the forefront.

“Because ultimately, as I remember, we used to watch in awe when a match used to be played in England or in Australia and we used to think 'Wow! How can matches be held there and what beautiful grounds' and we used to say 'My, God! What will happen to India?'

“Everybody must remember that cricket has turned upside down - if there is no India, there's no cricket anywhere in the world. So India, with a sixth of the world, can certainly make a mark for itself. I'm not saying maybe the number one football nation in the long run, but commercially it can probably be number one football loving and watching nation in the world,” he stated.

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