Sleeping giant India is slowly waking up: Blatter

March 9th, 2012 - 11:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) FIFA president Sepp Blatter Friday said “sleeping giant” India is slowly waking up and promised that he won’t leave football’s world body until the game is established in the country.

On his second visit here, Blatter said he was happy that India, which he termed as a sleeping giant in 2007, is slowly waking up.

“To wake up a sleeping giant you need several alarm clocks. We have set up several alarm clocks to monitor them. I am in my 30th year in FIFA and 13th year as the president. My tenure ends in 2015 but I won’t leave FIFA until I see the sport established in the sub-continent of India,” said Blatter.

The 75-year-old Swiss was accompanied by two FIFA executive committee members Zhang Zilong, president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and Manilal Fernando.

Blatter was happy with the change of guard in the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and lauded the federation president Praful Patel, also a union minister.

“I am happy with the governance of the AIFF and happy that the giant has slowly woken up. And I must thank Mr. Patel for his initiatives,” he said.

Blatter also met Indian President Pratibha Devi Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“The president told me that she likes the game of football. They also want to support the game,” he said.

Blatter also said that the much debated goal line technology, which has been opposed by UEFA president Michel Platini, would come into effect by July 2.

“We have had several meetings with the International Football Association Board (IFAB), who are the custodian of the laws of the game. The technology is likely to come into effect by July 2. But it won’t be compulsory and it will depend on the respective football association,” he said.

Blatter said he doesn’t want a repeat of the 2010 World Cup second round match between Germany and England when Chelsea star Frank Lampard’s goal was disallowed. The goal proved costly as England crashed out of the tournament.

“I don’t want a repeat of Lampard’s goal. Such things should not happen in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Mr. Platini can have his objections but we have to embrace the technology. But the human face of the game should stay. We have to live with errors. After all, referees are an integral part of the game,” he said.

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