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I-League is India's primary league: FIFA
Andrew Amsan  New Delhi | 18th Oct 2014

Players like Piero will help boost Indian football Valcke said. | Photo: Sanjay Vishwakarma

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) general secretary, Jerome Valcke said that the Indian Super League was not India's primary football league and that the long term goal should to be developing I-League.

"We won't call the ISL a league. For us there is only one league and that is the Indian League (I-League). The ISL is a tournament that is played for three months and helps in the development and recognition of football in India. It brings a lot of attraction not only in India but abroad too. And thanks to the clubs and the owners who have launched this league," said Valcke.

Valcke stressed on developing football at the "grassroots" level and believes that the stars in ISL will attract many youngsters to the game. "India has a lot to do with football. We are not saying it will become the number one sport, but it has the potential to become India's number two sport,"said Valcke.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) President, Praful Patel hinted that some ISL teams could be part of the I-League in future. He said an ISL team is planning to buy a team in I-League this year itself.

"Certain ISL clubs have already shown interest in playing the I-League, the signs are evident. Maybe in a couple of years, you will find ISL teams playing in the I-League," he said without disclosing any names.

Valcke on his second visit to India said that a lot of things have happened in Indian football since his last visit. He also said the next step for India after hosting the U-17 World Cup is to bid for the U-20 World Cup.

Talking about Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid, Valcke said that investigations were being carried on Qatar's bid and until the final reports come out they shall remain the hosts. He also said that Qatar's weather was not an issue and FIFA would find a time suitable to play there.

"Time being Qatar is the host, they (Qatar) will have the technology to manage the playing conditions."

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