Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kalmadi's tribe will be thanking Sepp Blatter

The FIFA president Sepp Blatter has recently said that India should be in a position to hold the 2026 football world cup. Coming from him it is a surprisingly big endorsement for the Indian football which occupies a shameful 145th rank on the basis of the national team's performance in whatever low quality international tournament it gets to play in.

Organising the football world cup, in which in all 64 matches are played over a month by 32 teams, is only a tad less involved an exercise than the summer Olympics. It will require at least a dozen world class stadia seating 40,000 to 150,000 in seven-eight cities for matches and 40 to 50 grounds for teams' practice. About 800 players and 5,000 officials, 10,000 press and television people and a couple of hundreds of thousands of spectators from different countries will be trouping down to India for the huge spectacle. Roads, metro rails and other urban infrastructure on modern lines will have to be provided in all seven-eight cities unlike the 2010 Commonwealth Games which were hosted by just one, Delhi. Another major difference from the CWG would be in the number of spectators from abroad; while it was zilch for CWG, for the world cup it would be at least 200,000. Over all, on organising the 2026 football world cup the country would be spending at least US$50 billion or Rs.2.25 lac crore, i.e. about Rs.50,000 crore more than the revenue loss in the telecom 2G spectrum scam, at 2010 prices.

So, rest assured that the government of India would jump with utmost alacrity at Sepp Blatter's suggestion and prepare itself to make the bid for the 2026 world cup when the time comes for that. After all, the successors of Kalmadi, Sheila Dikshit, M.S. Gill and Jaipal Reddy should also get a chance to get their names written in golden letters in history books.

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