Beckenbaur, Beckham, Platini 'to tour' rural India

For 45 minutes, India's President A P J Kalam kept Sepp Blatter, President of the world football body FIFA transfixed as he quoted profusely from a book by French football star Michel Platini and talked of his "own dream" of popularising the sport in India's 600,000 villages. "I have a dream and the dream is to make football popular in the villages of India so that more and more young people play it. For this I want top football stars to visit the villages and meet the children," Kalam told Blatter when the latter called on him last month during his India visit.

Impressed by what Kalam said, Blatter said FIFA plans to send three famous footballers to India next year, Franz Beckenbaur, Beckham and Platini, who will tour rural areas interacting with children, a senior official of All India Football Federation told the Hindustan Times.