India Is Now a Football Country: FIFA President Giani Infantino

FIFA president Giani Infantino is in Kolkata ahead of the final of the U-17 World Cup final on Saturday.

2 min read
File picture of FIFA President Giani Infantino

"India is a football country now," FIFA president Giani Infantino declared after arriving in Kolkata to chair the FIFA Council meeting on Friday and also attend the U-17 World Cup final on Saturday.

Asked about the successful organistion of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the 47-year-old clad in a dark suit said: "Thank you very much all the Indians. That's most important. It's a great pleasure to be here."

The All India Football Federation vice-president Subrata Dutta received Infantino at the airport and later in the day he will have an informal meeting with the AIFF supremo Praful Patel who is also staying at the same hotel in Kolkata

According to sources, there could be discussions on India's bid for the U-20 World Cup in 2019, chances of which have brightened after the overwhelming success of U-17 World Cup which is all set to topple China-1985 as the most attended event in the tournament's history.

While that appears to be the advantage the only drawback is that the FIFA has never allowed back to back World Cup events to one country. But with FIFA Council meeting here, it can be ratified.
Official in the Local Organising Committee

Read: Hosts India Set To Become Attendance Record of Under-17 World Cup

The meeting on Friday will also have discussions on the implementation of the contentious video assistant referee technology in Russia World Cup 2018 with the FIFA president keen on it.

Critics, however, said there's not nearly enough proof that the process works properly and argue Infantino is rushing into technology prematurely.

Last December's Club World Cup in Japan for the first time saw the VARs in a FIFA competition but it only drew flak for causing confusion. The system can only be used for goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards and cases of mistaken identity.

Infantino is also the state guest of the West Bengal government and chief minister Mamata Banerjee will host a dinner for the FIFA chief.

The FIFA chief, who was accompanied by a 35-member delegation, will also attend a programme attended by a host of former footballers at Eco Park.

Then on October 28, the FIFA boss will hand over the glittering U-17 World Cup Trophy to the winners of the summit clash between England and Spain at the Salt Lake Stadium.

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