Blatter’s visit to India
Joseph S. Blatter attended a number of receptions during his visit to India, including meetings with AIFF President Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Blatter and Mohamed bin Hammam also visited Mohun Bagan’s ground.
On 14 April 2007, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter – accompanied by AFC President Mohamed bin Hammam arrived in India for an official visit that took the FIFA delegation from Kolkata to the Indian capital of New Delhi.
The FIFA President, who was on his first ever official visit to India, expressed the hope that his being in India would help the country to take its first, crucial steps towards an international breakthrough.
While in Kolkata, Blatter and Bin Hammam attended a derby between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal in the city’s imposing Salt Lake stadium and did a full tour of the stadium to greet the many spectators. “What I’ve seen today is very promising, but there remains a great deal to be done to reach international standards,” said a satisfied Blatter after the match. Bin Hammam, meanwhile, stressed that “football in India needs to be better organized, both in terms of infrastructure and human resources”.
The next day, the two FIFA representatives traveled to New Delhi with AIFF President Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi for separate audiences with the Indian President, Abdul Kalam, and the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. “Give us the inspiration of football” was the philosophy-laden message addressed to world’s football’s governing body by the Indian President, who is totally committed to the idea of raising football’s profile even further in India.
Later that evening, at an official dinner, Blatter and his delegation had a special message for representatives of politics and industry.
“You have the chance to work with us to stimulate football in your country, which is in your interests as well as that of Indian youngsters,” said Blatter.