It was only last year that Sepp Blatter, the now resigned, 79-year-old FIFA president, termed India as another ‘market for football’ where the sport can grow.
During his speech at the Master Alumni Association, in Rio de Janeiro, on the sidelines of the World Cup last year, he said: “There are 1.3 billion people in India, that’s 1.3 billion people who want to play football now. Obviously, they like cricket and it’s a good sport; let them play it, but it’s not as good as football.”
India is on the verge of hosting its first ever international football competition in 2017 with FIFA U-17 World Cup. On the occasion of such a magnificent chance, AIFF (All India Football Federation) seems quite serious in providing the best in everything.
On Tuesday, June 2, AIFF signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with FFF (French Football Association) in Zurich, Switzerland.
Praful Patel, the president of AIFF, disclosed to the media that it is an “honour to enter into an agreement with the French Football Association.”
The contract will permit collaboration and cooperation between the two countries via coaches, referees, management and officials.
“Availability of sports centers or installations for competition, training and camps as and where possible in accordance with availability and suitability have also been agreed upon,” the AIFF statement on its media portal added.
The MoU will not only allow AIFF to seek technical assistance from its French counterpart, but also the players to enjoy exposure trips.
“Besides, support for the preparation of the Indian U-17 World Cup team which will be participating in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 to be hosted by India in terms of exposure trips for matches with French teams and participation in youth tournaments in France have also been considered,” the AIFF statement added.
The signing came off right after a similar contract was signed, last month between AIFF and German Football Association (DFB).
AIFF also signed another agreement with the Japan Football Association in February 2015.
With football being promoted widely in the country, and the sport becoming popular through tournaments like ISL, this step seems to be a fruitful way to not only polish the skills of the rising football stars in India, but also help them learn better.