FIFA's big dreams for India

The man who sells million dollar football dreams, Sepp Blatter is in New Delhi for two days.

updated: April 17, 2007 17:07 IST
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New Delhi:

The man who sells million dollar football dreams, Sepp Blatter is in New Delhi for two days.

Despite India's 165th rank, FIFA is convinced of India's potential. In fact there are moves to tap it and increase active particiaption from the industry in india to get some much needed money into the sport.

"Frankly speaking you only have history, as president of the Asian Confederatin, I haven't seen any future. With the actual infrastructure Indian football has, it should not dream of playing at the world level even after 100 years," said Mohammaed Bin Hamam, President, AFC.

Hamam, who is accompanying the FIFA chief, made this comment after visiting three of Kolkata's oldest clubs on Sunday.

But on Monday, Blatter arrived in Delhi with a bagful of dreams. The 71-year-old said that he may have been eager to buy football clubs in India, had he been young.

The FIFA president not only talked about developing the game and infrastructure but also tried to impress upon the corporates to become partners in developing professional football

"We are not lookig any longer for sponsors because sponsors give the impression that they are giving something but we want to exchange something. We will give you an opportunity to sell your product and display it. You offer us some compensation in cash or products - return in kind or cash," said Blatter.

Blatter, who sold FIFA 2006 world cup rights for nearly $2,500 million sees tremendous potential in the Indian market.

But to have returns, the game in India needs to be put on track, first. FIFA is likely to loosen its purse strings and make announcements on its plans for India. They have already announced a grant of approximately $1.5 million towards the same.

In fact, FIFA bosses have already laid out guidlines on launcing a professional football league. Asian Football Confederation's vision Delhi will shortly get underway followed by vision Tamil Nadu and vision Sikkim. But they realise that for India to rise from 165th, it's worst possible rank, it will take sometime.