FIFA president Gianni Infantino took centre stage at a press conference on Friday October 27 afternoon in Kolkata and saluted the efforts of India in making the U-17 World Cup 2017 a grand success. The president spoke after the FIFA Council meeting today.
Not only did he sing praises of the successful hosting but also thanked the hospitality of the West Bengal government, who have also hosted him generously ahead of the grand finale tomorrow, October 28, between England and Spain.
"I want to express my happiness to be in Kolkata. The hospitality has been fantastic. They were asked to put less spice in the food, but it has been very tasty so far," the FIFA president said.
"The FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 has been resounding success with many records being broken with regards to the attendance. India is a continent, not only a country. I said that India has become a football country, but have the feeling that India have become a football continent.
"Forget cricket, football is the future for India."
Infantino gave out the reasons why India has become so important for FIFA, over the last few years.
"India represents 1/6th of the world population. India is a sport country. There is a passion, a will to embark and invest in football because of the benefits of the game. The people here work with the youth, boys, girls to men and women.
"The etiquette of playing football - teaching the respect for the rules, referees, your opponents are given. I think when we see the potential in India then we have no other choice but help football grow sustainably in India.
"India shows true passion for football," he said.