PK hits out at FIFA LOC for ignoring former India footballers
Kolkata, Oct 21 (PTI) The legendary PK Banerjee today said it's an insult for Indian football that many top former players like Shyam Thapa, Prasun Banerjee and Subhas Bhowmick were not felicitated during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup opener in New Delhi earlier this month.
He also hit out at the local organising committee for adopting a 'lottery system' to distribute tickets among former footballers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had felicitated the greats of Indian football including Banerjee, IM Vijayan, Bhaichuing Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri, Bhaskar Ganguly and Bembem Devi.
"It's a huge loss of faith for Indian football community. In cricket we all know about the star players. But footballers are habitually ignored. How will the football's popularity grow if such is the attitude," Banerjee said at a news conference at his residence, on the eve of the high-voltage Brazil-Germany quarterfinal.
Banerjee mentioned the names of his brother Prasun Banerjee, Shyam Thapa, Arun Ghosh, Subhas Bhowmick, Mohammad Habib and Sudhir Karmakar and urged the LOC to felicitate them during the final here on October 28.
"I'm not naming Prasun just because he's my brother. He was one of Asia's top footballers and the first Indian footballer to enter the Parliament. If someone as notable as Prasun is ignored, you may think of others...
"What would be the motivation left for the next generation to sacrifice all their lives for the sake of Indian football? I'm saying this not just for the sake of Bengal, or the country but for the entire youth community who are taking up football."
He also said it's shameful that the LOC is distributing tickets with a lottery system for the final.
"It's truly shameful that the stars of yesteryears are given tickets by a lottery system. Of course the common people deserve to watch the final but one must never forget the past and the contribution of these former footballers."
The FIFA LOC was not available for a reaction. The LOC had earlier said they are distributing tickets based on a list prepared by the state government