New Delhi, Feb 13: FIFA president Sepp Blatter will be visiting India next month to oversee the development work under its Goal project before awarding the hosting rights of the 2017 U-17 World Cup to the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
The AIFF will be bidding for the U-17 World Cup and FIFA in principle has agreed to award the tournament to India. The bidding process will take place next month.
AIFF vice-president Subrata Dutta said Monday that Blatter’s visit to India, slated for March 9, will be part of his trip to Kathmandu for next month’s AFC Challenge cup. Blatter is also expected to visit Bangladesh.
“Blatter wants to check out the development activities in India. This shows how much importance FIFA is giving to India,” said Dutta said after an emergency committee meeting.
“Four FIFA-supported academies are coming up at Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. The FIFA is even paying the salary of AIFF Academy Instructor Scot O’Donnell (former Australian player),” he said.
AIFF President Praful Patel, also a cabinet minister, has requested prime minister Manmohan Singh some spare time for Blatter.
Blatter had earlier visited India in 2007 when he inaugurated the AIFF headquarters here and also witnessed a derby between East Bengal and Mohan Bagan in Kolkata.