Praful Patel makes series of ‘Bloopers’ in the draw ceremony of FIFA U17 World Cup

Photo: AIFF
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The stage was set, the guests from all corners of the globe were present and AIFF President Praful Patel emerged on the stage to deliver his speech as the head of the elite footballing organization of the host nation of the FIFA U17 World Cup 2017. Everything was moving fine untill the former Aviation Minister decided to take a dive into the nation’s footballing history.

Mr. Patel not only catered wrong information but by doing this gave a hint to the rest that why everything is not so smooth in Indian football. On the eve of the draw of FIFA U17 World Cup 2017 at Mumbai, The President of AIFF said,

“Now I let me tell you something which I tell almost everywhere as the audience keep changing…….India qualified for the FIFA World Cup back in the fifties, maybe in 1958. The World Cup was in Brazil. But inspite of qualifying they could not play as they wanted to play barefoot but FIFA could not allow as their rules were else….”

The statement clarified the not so deep knowledge of Mr. Patel regarding International or Indian football history. First of all, India could play in 1950 World Cup and not in 1958. Secondly, in 1958, the World Cup was held in Sweden and not in Brazil. Thirdly, India did not ‘qualify’ for 1950 Jules Rimet Trophy but got invited. After the non-occurence of FIFA World Cup during the World War II, FIFA started it again in 1950 and sent invitations which was largely based upon political influence.

And lastly and the most important mistake-The long-existing ‘Barefoot’ theory’s validity has got expired long ago. It’s an open secret now that although the players showed their annoyance to play wearing boots, but this was used as a mere eye-wash by the officials of AIFF then. The real thing was, AIFF back at that time was not foresighted enough and did not give much importance to Jules Rimet Trophy. Rather, participating in 1952 Olympics was more important to them and they did not want to spend the limited budget of AIFF by sending the team to Brazil for World Cup just two years before Olympics!

But inspite of holding the most prestigious chair in Indian football, this comedy of errors by Praful Patel infront of international delegates have brought him under the scanner. According to many, it would also impose a negative image on others regarding the organization.

Although the lovestory between ‘Bloopers’ and Praful Patel is not so new. In multiple previous occasions the AIFF President catered wrong information much to the surprise of many. But this mistake infront of the international guests in a global event will remain at the top of all those previous errors.