BCCI has assured help in future also: AIFF chief

Updated: Nov 26, 2009, 17:43 PM IST

New Delhi: AIFF president Praful Patel said
the Indian Cricket Board has assured financial help in future
also for the development of football in the country, besides the USD five million grant earlier this year.

"BCCI has committed financial help in future also. They
will see how we utilise this money and will surely help us in
the future," Patel told AFC official website about the USD 5
million grant sanctioned by the Cricket Board for national
football team`s preparations for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.

"Apart from the preparation of teams for 2011 AFC Asian
Cup in Doha and Asian Games in Guangzhou, we need to earmark
this money for the grassroots development," added the
52-year-old, who is also the Union Civil Aviation Minister.

Patel said a good performance by the national team in the
2011 Asian Cup in Doha will help generate more interest for
the sport among the people.

"We want our national team to do well in Doha because the
interest in the game will develop only when the national team
does well," he said.

He said that his vision was to make football India`s
number one sport by 2020 and to achieve the target, some
infrastructural challenges will have to be overcome.

"We have to make some structural changes in our system,
including leagues in all the states and organising better
tournaments. We will do this in phased manner. Infrastructure
is the biggest challenge for us but we plan to overcome this
in next three years," Patel said.

Regarding a possible club-versus-country row following
Indian coach Bob Houghton`s plan of keeping the players
together before the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, Patel said, "Houghton
is right in saying the interest of national team should come

"We will compensate the players and see to it that they
don`t suffer financially by playing for the country. The
future of Indian football depends on the results of the
national team," he said.