In his 14th year, FIFA president Sepp Blatter Blatter wished to see India as a premier footballing nation before his mandate finishes in 2015.
“To wake up a sleeping giant you need several alarm clocks. We have set up several alarm clocks. My tenure ends in 2015 but I won’t leave FIFA until I see the sport established in the sub-continent of India,” Blatter told reporters in New Delhi.”We are following very carefully developments of Indian football… have special people attached to India… have a FIFA development regional office in India.
He said USD 8 million has been invested in laying the (artificial) turf in places like Kolkata, Shillong, Bangalore, Mumbai and Imphal.
“Four regional academies will be launched in Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. There will also be four regional academies,” he said.
Blatter on Friday paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at his residence in the national capital. Blatter presented a memento to the Prime Minister with FIFA symbol engraved on it.
All India Football Federation President Praful Patel was also present on the occasion.
Blatter is in India to inspect the preparations of under 17 world cup for which India is bidding. If India is able to host the tournament, it would guarantee its participation for the first time.