All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel has stated that he will use the goodwill generated to develop Indian football after being elected to the FIFA Executive Council.
Patel became the first Indian to be a member of the FIFA Council after being elected at an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. He received 38 out of 46 votes.After the landmark development, Patel told Goal exclusively, "I am honoured and particularly proud not only for myself but for my country that we have been able to get into the elite club of countries who will be in the FIFA Council."
The presence of the AIFF supremo in the FIFA Executive Council is expected give India a much stronger voice at the international stage. Patel exuded confidence while stating that he expects to put the goodwill he has to develop Indian football.
Patel believes that the popularity of the game will increase in the country in the future and football has the potential to become the number one followed sport in India.
"It will, of course, be very helpful as we will use all our goodwill to further the game in India. Football has a huge following in our country and over the period, I am sure that football can become the number one sport in India," he added.
The membership in the council will be for four years, from 2019 to 2023.
India have already hosted a FIFA event (U17 boys World Cup) and is set to host the FIFA U20 women's World Cup as well. Patel's election to the FIFA council is expected to facilitate the future hosting of international events as well.