Kolkata: FIFA president Sepp Blatter said the International friendly between Argentina and Venezuela here on September 2 was an indication that football's popularity was on the rise in a cricket-dominated country.

In a message to city-based Celebrity Management Group who are organising the spectacle, Blatter said the match would surely boost football's popularity in the country.

Messi and Co will clash against their South American rival Venezuela, two countries with a strong football tradition, in a rare match to be held in Yuba Bharati Krirangan, something that is a part of FIFA's development programme.

"It's clear that FIFA's development work in this huge country is starting to bear fruit...Football is starting to occupy an increasingly important place in Indian society," Blatter wrote in a message to the sports management firm.

"I have no doubt that the match will go a long way towards boosting football's popularity in India even further," he said thanking the AIFF for making the event possible.

He further said that their vision of a programme launched 10 years ago had started paying dividends.

"The Goal Programme was launched with the aim of improving football infrastructure worldwide on a large scale.

Since then, more than 500 projects have been launched to the value of USD 262 million.

"We have now entered a new era of football development, which combines infrastructure and projects, financial resources, technical knowledge and expertise...and can offer our 208 members comprehensive support of both a general and specific nature, covering the needs of a modern football association," he stated.