Sepp Blatter Backs India To Host FIFA World Cup 2026 – Bizarre!




Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter isn’t a famous man these days in the soccer fraternity. For the Indian counterparts he is nothing less than Santa with his due Christmas gift! The FIFA President has already fuelled the cynics by the decision on Qatar’s right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and he now has gassed them by releasing a statement on the possibilities of India being able to host the 2026 edition.

For a nation like ours that has already mounted every peak of obsession towards cricket, soccer is an exciting prospect. With every passing world cup you were left wondering, “What does it take to assemble 11 players who just need to kick the football with their curved toed shoes?”  A billion others were thinking just about the same thing.

I often wonder what he meant by saying, “a market not just for football but for the economy as well” following up his statement on India’s possibilities. It was a generous line said by a man who I’m pretty sure missed the whole CWG fiasco. He has not only fuelled a bizarre but arguably a needed debate regarding the readiness of the lesser countries & their participation in the biggest showpiece of the beautiful game!

But a cautious Kushal Das, the newly elected AIFF general secretary, was very watchful about his statements. “Blatter’s words are exciting but a lot of work needs to be done before India is actually ready for the World Cup”. He went on to add, “India does not have the required infrastructure to host the World Cup at the moment. What we need is serious support from the government as well as the private sector and most importantly we must improve our team first!”

At the moment Das is an intelligent and a smart spoken man than his FIFA counterpart. For a country that is preparing for the current AFC Asian Cup, Doha at places like Barcelona, Lisbon and Dubai a lot of pondering needs to be done on the availability of stadiums that meet with the FIFA specifications. India has never been able to pass through the first qualification round leave aside the main tournament! But 2026 is quite some time away, the funds need to be managed well, useless expenditure has to be rationally examined and most importantly a foresight about building a team for the 2026 WC. And this starts at the grass root levels and not at the highest levels.

Blatter may be visionary who has just failed to satisfy the people of his time but the irony lies in the fact that the two teams he is banking upon are in fact the worst ranked teams participating in the ongoing Asian Cup at Doha (India-142 & Qatar-106). But the Indians would consider this as a welcome inspiration in the New Year and its time where, as Das said, for the government and the private sector to seriously look in the development of the game in the country and unravel the avenues that still remain unexplored!

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