India to host U-17 Soccer World Cup

FIFA, the international football body, awarded India the rights to host the Under-17 World Cup in 2017. The country beat stiff competition from Ireland, 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa and Uzbekistan to get the final nod from FIFA’s executive committee at the resort town of Costa Do Sauipe in Brazil.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter told a news conference later that selecting India was “really a sports political, a geopolitical decision.”
The tourney, which will witness 24 teams in action, will be played at six venues. Among the cities in the fray to host the games are Mumbai, New Delhi, Goa, Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata, Kochi and Guwahati. ’
“This is historic. This is what we have been waiting for,” AIFF president Praful Patel said after India was chosen as the host of the 2017 U-17 soccer World Cup.
“I need to thank the FIFA executive committee for keeping its trust in us and granting India the right to host the 2017 U-17 World Cup,” “I am also grateful to the Indian government for its support and giving us the necessary guarantees which made it possible for India to bid for the Cup.Hosting a tournament of such a stature will also help galvanize Indian football. At the moment,football is popular in certain pockets in India. With the World Cup,I strongly believe the popularity will swell and the mission of making football a pan-India sport will be realized,” a pleased Patel added.
The NCP leader said making a mark on the world stage was the priority for India and the hosting rights could not have come at a better time. “The very fact that our boys will be getting a chance to rub shoulders with the world’s best is amazing. The infrastructure in the country will have to be improved to be on a par with international standards which will benefit Indian football immensely,” he added.
Winning the bid is a matter to rejoice but it will also give rise to certain concerns, most importantly the infrastructure. The AIFF must get the organizational aspect in order as India’s execution of hosting world class events has left a yawning gap apropos its aspirations. Winning the bid wasn’t without hiccups, though. FIFA had rejected India’s first bid in January as it did not comprise the required assurances from the government.The world governing body wanted written guarantees on security, tax exemptions, foreign exchange inflow, transport and accommodation of players. After months of parleying with the government, Patel managed to get the necessary assurances.
It was in March 2012 that the FIFA president, during a brief stopover in Delhi, hinted that the world body would support India’s bid for the event. The AIFF has been working on the bid since and officially submitted the documents in November to FIFA’s director of competitions division Mustapha Fahmy at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich. The sports ministry has earmarked Rs 95 crore for the development of stadiums besides an additional Rs 25 crore as contingency funds.The actual tournament expenses will be borne by the AIFF and FIFA.
The tournament, whose first edition was held in China in 1985,is a happy hunting ground for the young Super Eagles from Nigeria. They have won the trophy four times (1985, 1993, 2007 and 2013) followed by the samba boys from Brazil who have been victorious thrice.The tournament is held every two years. The Nigerians are the current champions after beating Mexico 3-0 in the 2013 final in Abu Dhabi. The 2015 edition is slated to be hosted by Chile.

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