India must show they are capable to host big events: Hammam

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Philem Dipak Singh

Doha, Jan 14 (PTI) India need to show they are capableand ready to host big international events if they wish to bidfor the 2026 World Cup or the 2019 Asian Cup, feels AsianFootball Confederation President Mohammed bin Hammam.

Hammam feels it is a myth that India is lagging behindmainly due to acute lack of infrastructure but said they needto show they are capable of being a good host.

"Every country has a right and ambition to host bigevents like the World Cup. It is not in our hands. It isentirely in India''s hands and not an external wish," BinHammam said when asked about his views on FIFA chief SeppBlatter''s reported comments that India could be a potentialcandidate to host the World Cup in 2026.

"If India wants to host the World Cup they will have toshow in their bid that they are capable and ready. It dependson the determination of India to take up the challenge," hesaid.

Asked if India should bid for 2019 Asian Cup, Bin Hammamsaid, "India will have to be ready and naturallyinfrastructure will have to be developed in a way that itmeets today''s international football standards."

"Lot of things need to be done. Football is not played inisolation. Countries play against each other and clubs in Asiahave become very professional and we know these things are notin India. These are no secrets.

"People know what Qatar have, the stadiums and thefacilities which India do not have. It is a myth (why this ishappening in India). They will have to address these issues.

It is entirely the Indians who will have to do this and fixit. The Indian Clubs will have to be commercial entities ifyou want to progress further," he said.

However, Hammam hoped India''s participation in the AsianCup after a gap of 27 years would help the country regaintheir glorious past soon.

"I am happy for India to play in Asian Cup after so manyyears, after long disappearance. I welcome them. The nationalassociation, the players and fans in India must be feelingexcited that their team is playing in the Asian Cup. I dobelieve it is the start of the wake up call for India by allmeans and from here on they should move ahead," Bin Hammamtold PTI in an interview. .

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