FIFA official criticises slow pace of development

Gurgaon: India came in for sharp criticism on Friday from a top FIFA official who said the slow pace of development is not helping the country`s cause as far as the growth of the football is concerned.

"Due to its potential, India is the only country that FIFA has made specific commitments to support AIFF. But delays in completion of projects undertaken have resulted in slower development of football in India," said Thierry Regenass, director, Member Associations and Development Division, FIFA.

There were, however, some words of encouragement as well for the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

"FIFA would love to come to India. India should bid for the Under-17 World Cup and that would certainly provide a huge impetus to the development of infrastructure and the game of football in India," Regenass added at the International Football Arena (IFA) round table on Friday.

According to AIFF general secretary, Kushal Das, Indian football urgently needs a world-class technical director more than a good coach to lift the game in the country.

"Our need at this juncture is to find a world-class technical director. Unless we have a good technical director it is no point having a great coach," Das said.

"AIFF will be closely examining the relevance of every domestic tournament. To take football to the grass-root level and talent hunt, AIFF will work closely with its partners at every level," he added.

Speaking at the roundtable, former Chelsea star Graeme Le Saux reiterated that the top Premiership club will enter the Indian market at the opportune moment.

"We are scouting for the right partner and are in dialogue with like-minded people. It has always been Chelsea`s endeavour to develop football around the world and India is no exception. It`s just that we need to gauge the viability and commitment of our Indian partner," Le Saux said.

PTI

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