FIFA and AFC increase funding to Indian football

The Asian Football Confederation has announced a financial assistance of US$1 million for a period of four years to help Indian football improve its standard. AFC President Mohammed Bin Hammam said the money is not a donation but a support for the cause of the game. "This money is to support clubs and the league. This is not a donation, we would like to see how it supports your clubs and league," Hammam told a Special Congress organised to mark the 70th anniversary of All India Football Federation. He also called various Indian entities to extend a helping hand. "I am expecting support of state and federal government and also of the corporate world for the development of football in India ... Unfortunately the football infrastructure is not good here but the kind of commitment and promises we have had on this visit, I hope Indian football will reach heights," he said.

Later, FIFA President Joseph Sepp Blatter declared open a four-year program, Win in India with India. "We have launched a new program, which is not yet on paper but in spirit. It will be linked with the 'Vision Asia' programme of AFC," Blatter said. However, for the success of the plan, Blatter put the the onus on AIFF. 'Win in India with India' means nobody else can identify your problems. You have to identify your problems and we can provide you the help.

"You will get $250 000 per year for this plan, which is a regular grant for all national associations attached with FIFA. We have to put this plan on paper and by 2010, when South Africa will be holding the World Cup, we will have realised three quarters of this plan. Then I would like to see smiling faces, happy with the development of football. You have to bring changes from top to bottom and for that there are two main streets. One is the administration and the other is technical organisation. And by technical organisation I don't mean coaching ... it is infrastructure, premises and stadiums," Blatter said as quoted by PTI.

Blatter said one should not be attached to the game for mere entertainment but for identification as well. "Football should be for entertainment, emotion and for national identity. When did you see your team last on the world stage? Kazakhstan, a small country, has qualified for this year's U-17 World Cup and with your population you should do it hundred times more," he said.