Football: Fifa secretary-general Valcke hails inaugural Indian Super League

Indian dancers perform during the inauguration of the Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament in Kolkata on Oct 12, 2014. The inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) will help the cricket-mad nation develop a football culture with the ultimate
Indian dancers perform during the inauguration of the Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament in Kolkata on Oct 12, 2014. The inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) will help the cricket-mad nation develop a football culture with the ultimate aim of qualifying for the World Cup, a top Fifa official said Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) will help the cricket-mad nation develop a football culture with the ultimate aim of qualifying for the World Cup, a top Fifa official said Wednesday.

"India has huge potential. The ISL is helping," the world governing body's secretary-general Jerome Valcke said. "We must make sure that we are all together with one goal - to develop football in India and help India play in the World Cup sooner."

The glitzy 10-week long ISL, which opened on Sunday, is modelled on cricket's popular Indian Premier League, televised by Rupert Murdoch's Star TV and backed by sports management giants IMG and Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani.