Noida, July 18 (IANS) Former English footballer Paul Masefield said Thursday if India manages to win the bid for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, it will significantly boost the popularity of the sport in the country.
"If India manages to pull off the bid for the U-17 World Cup it will be great for the country. Also, I think the English Premier League this season and the FIFA World Cup next year will almost double the participation levels in football in the next one year in the country," said Masefield, who was appointed the technical director of KOOH Sports which launched its new football development centre at Kothari International School here.
Asked if Indian football can grow by incorporating ideas from successful foreign leagues, the Englishman said: "I think India can incorporate ideas not just from European football but also Asia, for example Japan. Japan has developed by leaps and bounds over the years. Improving the infrastructure is vital and I think India is moving in the right direction.
"It is just a matter of time when India make it big. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is taking big steps to improve the standards of football. Talent needs to be tapped from smaller cities and initiatives and academies like these need to be set up to make football grow in India."
There has been a lot of talk recently regarding the transfer of England international Wayne Rooney from Manchester United to Chelsea.
Newly apponinted United coach David Moyes had earlier said that Dutch international Robin van Persie will be the first choice striker ahead of Rooney. He had also commented that they are not selling Rooney, when Chelsea showed interest in buying the striker.
However, Masefield believes that in the next one week, Rooney will make the move.
"I think he is going to move to Chelsea with in a week. For him, it is about playing in the first team and not playing second fiddle. It's more about playing than money for him," said the commentator-cum-coach.
Masefield also commented on the recent fall of England to World No.15 in the FIFA rankings, a five-year low, adding that English football has dropped to embarrassing standards.
"I think it is embarrassing to the level English football has fallen. We just need to see how the model is in Spain and Germany, who are on top of their game. Rankings are just a mockery. It is sponsored and I don't think you need to pay attention to them. The results are what counts," signed off Masefield, who has played for Birmingham City and Eire Preston North End.