FIFA president Infantino likely to meet PM Modi next month

FIFA president Gianni Infantino is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits India during the women’s under-17 World Cup in late October. This was announced at the executive committee meeting of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) here on Monday.

Scheduled from October 11-30, the tournament final will be held in Navi Mumbai and as per convention the FIFA president is likely to attend. “The members were informed about the possibility of the FIFA president meeting honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the way forward for Indian football. They would be making some announcements which would be path breaking,” said Shaji Prabhakaran, AIFF secretary-general.

Prabhakaran and AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey met Infantino in Doha on September 9. Infantino had called Choubey after he was elected one week earlier.

Modi and Infantino met at the 2018 G20 summit in Argentina where the FIFA president had presented a special shirt to the Prime Minister. “Impossible to come to Argentina and not think about football. Argentinian players are tremendously popular in India. Today, received this jersey from @FIFAcom President Gianni Infantino. I thank him for the kind gesture,” Modi tweeted on December 1, 2018.

Infantino had also come for the final of the under-17 Men’s World Cup in Kolkata in 2017. His predecessor Sepp Blatter visited India in 2007 and 2012.

FIFA suspended India on August 15 for “undue interference by a third party” when AIFF was being run by a Supreme Court appointed committee of administrators. “The relevant suspension would mean that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022…could not be held as planned,” FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura’s letter had stated.

The ban was lifted late on August 26 following several rounds of negotiations between officials of the union sports ministry and FIFA and the top court disbanding the committee of administrators.

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