New Delhi: In a much needed boost to India's bid to host the 2017 Under-17 World Cup Football, FIFA President Sepp Blatter will visit the country early next month to have a first hand account of the developmental work here.
Blatter, who is scheduled to visit Nepal during the AFC Challenge Cup (March 8-19), will be in India on March 9, All India Football Federation vice-president Subrata Dutta said here on Monday.
Blatter will meet the Executive Committee members of the All India Football Federation which is expected to apprise him of the various developmental works in the country, including FIFA projects.
He is also likely to visit Bangladesh.
Though on a courtesy visit, Blatter will be keen to know about India's infrastructural preparedness to host the 2017 U-17 World Cup, which, if awarded, will be the biggest football event in the country
"Blatter's visit shows how much importance FIFA is giving to India. The world body's support in building the right kind of infrastructure in the country has been beyond our expectations," Dutta said.
"Already four FIFA supported academies are coming up at Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. The FIFA is even paying the salary of AIFF Academy Instructor Scot O'Donnell (former Australian player)," he said.
Dutta also pointed out that AIFF President Praful Patel has requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to spare some time from his busy schedule for Blatter.
Blatter had earlier visited India in 2007 on the occasion of AIFF's Platinum jubilee celebrations and he also witnessed the National Football League derby between East Bengal and Mohan Bagan in Kolkata.
Dutta added that the country has a good chance to win the bid for hosting the 2017 Under-17 World Cup.
"2017 Under-17 World Cup may be held in India, we will be bidding for the event. We have got the assurance and our team is preparing the bid document," he said.
"Since India is the host nation we will get a direct entry in to the tournament. It will encourage more kids to play football and take it up as a career option. It will also enable us to develop a quality structure for the sport," he said.
Dutta said that the matches of the Under-17 World Cup, if India host it, will be held in six different venues across the country.
"The World Cup matches will be played at Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa, Delhi and Guwahati," he said and added that the right kind of infrastructure will be built at these centres.