We’ll stand by Blatter: AIFF

Kolkata, June 2 (IANS) The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Tuesday said it would stand by Sepp Blatter, who resigned as FIFA president, for the way he has helped the development of the game in India.

However, AIFF vice president Subrata Dutta also made it clear that they would think otherwise if Blatter is indicted on some count and hoped that India would continue to be treated with respect and importance irrespective of who comes in as a replacement.

“We were with Blatter. We will continue to be by his side, unless, of course, he is indicted on some charges,” Dutta told IANS here.

The AIFF official said India voted for Blatter in the recent FIFA election as a mark of indebtedness for the way the world body supported the game in the country in the last few years.

“We received all kinds of cooperation. The under-17 World Cup was gifted to us. FIFA has done a lot for the development and improvement of soccer in India,” he said.

Looking ahead, Dutta said irrespective of who occupies the FIFA chief’s post now, the under-17 World Cup the country is set to host in 2017 won’t be affected.

“I feel whoever now occupies the hot seat, India would continue to be treated with respect and importance. India is a big market. FIFA will continue to stand by us the same way it has over the past few years.

“I am confident that the under-17 World Cup will not be affected. FIFA has a professional set-up. It has professionals to run each department. The person who occupies the highest position only takes the policy decisions. It is implemented by the professionals. So we have no worries about that,” said Dutta.

Earlier in the day, Blatter announced he was stepping down from football’s governing body amid a corruption scandal, and also called for an extraordinary congress “as early as possible” at which a successor will be elected.

The Swiss announced his decision at a hastily-arranged press conference after his secretary-general Jerome Valcke was earlier implicated in the US Department of Justice’s investigations into a $10 million payment to indicted former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.

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