Matching football to India's 2020 economic vision

Coming directly from a personal meeting with the President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the President of FIFA, the world football body, Joseph Blatters, proposed that India should match its football goals to the country's economic growth. “A scientist by profession, Dr Kalam is now donning the role of a visionary and philosopher for this country. He has outlined his vision of turning India into a developed country by 2020 and has put his thoughts on paper. I happened to read that one. Going by the economic progress India is making, the important question in my mind is, ‘Is India 2018 ready’?”

Further elaborating, Mr Blatter said: “On the basis of their sheer economic progress Japan and South Korea got the 2002 World Cup. As the World Cup is awarded to different continents on rotation basis, 2006 went to Germany (Europe), 2010 to South Africa (Africa) and Brazil has staked claim for the 2014. 2018 will be a good platform for India to arrive at the world football scene.” He added: “May be India won’t be able to get the big one (World Cup), but you can get one of the smaller events of under-17, under-20 (both boys’ and girls’) World Cups.”

Assuring full support to Indian football, Mr Blatter said: “We are trying to chart out a road-map for India to reach the international scene. As a first step we have assured funds for the first four years. But the road will never stop. But from now on it depends on you, how to make the most of it. We have given you a platform. Now you create the needed administrative, infrastructure, human resources and socio-cultural support.” In his concluding remarks, Mr Blatter said as reported by The Statesman. “India and Indian football has a wonderful opportunity to wake up as a sleeping giant. In doing so it will be beneficial to both India and FIFA.”