Kolkata: FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that the International friendly between Argentina and Venezuela in India on September 2 was an indication that football`s
popularity was on the rise in a cricket-dominated country.
In a message to a city-based Celebrity Management Group who are organizing the spectacle, Blatter said the match would surely boost football`s popularity in the country.
Messi and Co will clash against their South American rival Venezuela, two countries with a strong football tradition, in a rare match to be held in Yuba Bharati Krirangan, something that is a part of FIFA`s development programme.
"It`s clear that FIFA`s development work in this huge country is starting to bear fruit...Football is starting to occupy an increasingly important place in the Indian society," Blatter wrote in a message to the sports management firm.
"I have no doubt that the match will go a long way towards boosting football`s popularity in India even further," he said thanking the AIFF for making the event possible. He further said that their vision of a programme launched 10 years ago has started paying dividends.
"The Goal Programme was launched with the aim of improving football infrastructure worldwide on a large scale. Since then, more than 500 projects have been launched to the value of USD 262 million.
"We have now entered a new era of football development, which combines infrastructure and projects, financial resources, technical knowledge and expertise...and can offer our 208 members comprehensive support of both a general and specific nature, covering the needs of a modern football
association," he stated.