India Sports
FIFA chief's visit a big opportunity for Indian football: Dasmunsi
Apr 14, 2007 - 2:31:04 PM

New Delhi, April 14 - The three-day visit of FIFA president Joseph Blatter to India is a 'golden opportunity' for the country to grab some projects for the development of football in the country, says Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, president of the All India Football Federation -.

'This is a golden opportunity for us to grab some projects for the development of Indian football and take the sport to the next level in the country,' Dasmunsi told IANS Saturday, hours before Blatter was to come on his first visit here.

According to Dasmumsi, the FIFA president was expected to make some major announcement on some projects concerning upliftment of the game in the country.

'A delegation from the FIFA visited the country in the past and they have submitted a report to Blatter. The AIFF doesn't want to comment anything on this issue but it is expected that he will make some announcements regarding the launch of some development projects in the country,' he said.

'We are hopeful that if some development projects are launched it will really help us to change the face of Indian football.'

Blatter will land in Kolkata late Saturday night and will watch the East Bengal-Mohun Bagan national league match at the Salt Lake stadium Sunday.

Blatter will arrive in New Delhi Monday morning and will have a lunch hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industries -. Later in the day he will meet President A.P.J Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and will visit Rajghat to pay homage Mahatma Gandhi.

Blatter's meeting with the representatives of some of the biggest business houses in the country at the Confederation of Indian Industry - is of prime importance because it may help Indian football get some sponsors.

'The motto of the meeting is that 'India should bat for Indian football'. He will obviously discuss some sponsorship issues.

'FIFA is taking special interest in the development of the sport in the country. There are lot of sponsors in FIFA's board but except Fuji Film and Hyundai we don't see others investing in South Asia,' pointed out Dasmunsi.

He will also inaugurate the AIFF Football House in the city Tuesday and later in the day will address a special Congress of the AIFF at Vigyan Bhavan to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the national body.

'This is the first time that a FIFA president is on a three-day visit to any country. It is only during the World Cup that he stays in the host country for a long time. So with the duration of stay we can understand the importance of his visit to this country,' said Dasmunsi.

He will be accompanied by a high power delegation consisting of the Asian Football Confederation - president Mohammed Bin Hammam, AFC vice-president Manilal Fernando, the special delegate of the FIFA President, Jerome Champagne, and other officials of FIFA's media and marketing.

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