After being elected as the first-ever Indian member of the FIFA Council, AIFF president Praful Patel spoke about the same to IANS.
“I am happy with the victory here, because my election to FIFA council is also a proud moment for India. I also feel personally honoured to become the first Indian to represent the country in the council of the world body, which is a prestigious thing,” said Patel, moments after a record-breaking victory during the AFC Congress in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, April 6.
“This will help us to develop Indian football, help us to get more FIFA competition, more developmental funds, everything… it will help Indian football in the long run,” he added.
“My responsibility is Indian football. This position I have gained today would be also to use and help Indian football. I have to use this opportunity to take it to greater heights,” he said.
Asked whether his elevated position in FIFA would help the Indian national team since it has been doing relatively well at the international level, Patel said: “That is one place where we have to work hard at the grassroots and increase all other activities to take the team forward. Of course I will use this position to get more international friendlies for India.”
Patel said there was no going back on his promise to meet the I-League clubs this month.
“We will find a solution to the problem. The work is in progress. You should know, I am in the middle of elections. I have national election in hand and till today had this FIFA election. I promised to meet them (the clubs) after 11th (April), I will meet them. I have already told them about it,” said Patel.
The responsibility as a #FIFA Council member is huge. I would not only be representing my own country but the entire continent. Thank you all for your confidence for rapid progress of football in #Asia.@IndianFootball @theafcdotcom @FIFAcom #AFCCongress2019 #IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/P6KxbE57bo
— Praful Patel (@praful_patel) April 6, 2019