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Valcke: India has to be one of the centre points of Asia

FIFA Delegation led by Valcke arrives in New Delhi

FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke has expressed FIFA’s desire to see Indian football rising and to establish itself as a powerhouse in Asia. Valcke is part of a high-profile FIFA Delegation which landed in New Delhi for a four-day visit on Tuesday evening.

Valcke met All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel on Wednesday to discuss various topics related to Indian football and its future roadmap.

“Our main objective is to develop domestic football and bring it to the International level. People would take interest in watching Indian Domestic League and not only the English Premier League and the La Liga and so on,” the 51-year old Frenchman told at a Press Conference at the Le Meridian Hotel today. “We want to improve the infrastructure as well. India is a large market and I cannot believe 1.2 billion people only play just cricket.”

“This is the reason we want the U17 World Cup in 2017 to take place in India,” Valcke continued. “We aim to host World Cups in countries where football development is needed. India stays out primary area of focus. We have our Developmental Office in India.”

“That proves how serious we are about the 10-year project with India from 2012 to 2022. In between we have the 2017 World Cup bid and India’s aim to qualify for the “2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” the FIFA General Secretary told.

AIFF President Praful Patel is happy to welcome the high-profile FIFA Delegation in India. Valcke’s visit to India is a follow-up to FIFA President Blatter’s trip to the sub-continent earlier this year [+ read more].

“We have been fortunate enough to have President Blatter and now Mr. Valcke visiting India in the same year. It depicts FIFA’s interest in developing football in the country,” said Patel.

“Indian football is poised for a big leap after days of hibernation. We are ready to shake off our stupor and FIFA is supporting us in our cause. They are going out of their way to see India emerge as a strong Footballing Nation,” the AIFF President told.

“We have to start early if we want to grow as a footballing nation and develop the grassroots. We need to work on the pyramid and that stays the main objective of the federation. Unless we have players being nurtured from the age of 12-13 we won’t grow.”

“We have a 10-year Master Plan called ‘Lakshya’ and our aim is to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” Patel added.

Praful Patel and Jérôme Valcke signed an agreement on this cause and both are hopeful that the plans will bear some fruits.

“India stay an integral part in Asia’s development,” Valcke told. “India has to be one of the centre point of Asia to develop football. There is no football without grassroot programme. The U-17 World Cup is the perfect milestone to succeed it.”